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NYSAC chief on de Randamie-Holm result: Referee 'acted within his discretion,' 'no clear error'

The New York State Athletic Commission’s interim chief found no fault in referee Todd Anderson’s performance in the octagon during UFC 208’s headliner between Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm.

Consequently, the commission couldn’t justify changing the results, NYSAC Interim Chair Anthony Giardina wrote in a four-page decision submitted to Holm’s attorneys upon denying her appeal.

A copy of the decision can be read here.

“The commission finds that referee Anderson acted within his discretion and committed no clear error, or violation of statute or regulation by not assessing a foul and deducting points from Ms. de Randamie at the conclusion of either Round 2 or Round 3,” Giardina said in the decision, obtained by MMAjunkie. “The commission therefore will not disturb the referee’s in-fight determinations at the conclusions of those rounds … the scoring and outcome of the bout will not be modified.”

Anderson came under scrutiny during the fight when de Randamie landed what appeared to be blatantly illegal punches at the conclusion of Rounds 1 and 2, the latter of which drew a hard warning but not a point deduction. The decision not to take points was pivotal, as de Randamie (8-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) won by unanimous 48-47 scores after a late surge from Holm (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Holm’s attorneys, Paul Bardacke and Breanna Houghton, subsequently appealed the official result of the Feb. 11 pay-per-view headliner, asking the commission to review Anderson’s performance and to evaluate the possibility of changing the official score. Given the unanimous 48-47 scores for de Randamie, they claimed Holm was denied a possible draw or win in the inaugural women’s featherweight title bout.

The NYSAC’s rules state that only the referee can assess a foul and whether it was intentional or unintentional. Giardina also cited MMA’s Unified Rules, which states that a round is signified by the sound of a bell and the call of time by the referee.

“The footage (provided by the UFC) indicates that at the end of Round 2, de Randamie threw a left-right combination,” he wrote. “The left punch landed simultaneously with the sounding of the horn. The right punch landed after the horn sounded, but before referee Anderson ended the round by clearly and firmly stating, ‘That’s it,’ and by inserting his left arm and body between the combatants. After sending the combatants to their corners, referee Anderson stated to the judges and the commission: ‘That’s a good punch’ … ‘I wasn’t in yet. That’s a good strike.’

As for the late punches in Round 3, Giardina indicated there was evidence to support a foul called. But it was referee Anderson’s decision not to deduct a point.

“Ms. de Randamie, again, threw a left-right combination (at the end of Round 3),” he wrote. “The right punch, which did not land, was thrown after the horn had begun to sound and as the referee Anderson was inserting his arm and body between the combatants. Referee Anderson, in his judgement, did not assess a foul for the late punch, but, instead, issued a stern warning to de Randamie.”

At the post-fight presser, Holm felt de Randamie had intentionally attacked her after the bell, which the new champ denied. After receiving heated criticism on social media, de Randamie reversed course on a plan to take time off to treat an injury and said she would rematch Holm if cleared to fight. Holm’s camp initially hedged on the offer, but later agreed that an immediate rematch is the necessary option.

De Randamie, a former kickboxing champ, picked up her third straight win and the biggest accolade of her MMA career, while Holm, a former boxing champ and UFC women’s bantamweight champ, suffered her third straight loss. The UFC has indicated de Randamie’s first title defense will not be Holm, but a fight with Invicta FC champ and UFC star Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC). No concrete plans have been made, however.

For complete coverage of UFC 208, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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