Joe Rogan’s words on commentary may have had a bigger impact than he expected at UFC 277 late last month (July 31, 2022).
By the end of the night, the event had seen six of the 13 bouts go to the judges’ scorecards, all but two were unanimous decisions. Among the two splits was a Heavyweight tilt between Don’Tale Mayes and promotional newcomer, Hamdy Abdelwahab.
Abdelwahab wound up playing spoiler, defeating Mayes with two 29-28 cards, the other being the same score but in favor of Mayes. Rogan and crew on commentary didn’t agree and let it be known by saying things like, “I mean, come on” and “That guy needs a talking to.”
The judge who had Mayes winning the fight, Seth Fuller, recently expressed his issues with this, claiming it to have affected his status within the commission, and obviously, the public.
“Joe Rogan you’re still my hero. … But I have to face that, and everybody I know has to face that, and this is the important part, the commission has to hear that,” Fuller said on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Fighting). “Now the commission goes, hey, this is why we shouldn’t have put this guy on the main UFC. … And that’s to me, a bunch of BS, because if I’m doing it wrong, then cite me for doing it wrong. But if you’re pretending that I’m not experienced, or I was careless, or I didn’t think, and do my absolute best, and I don’t care about these fighters and care that the result is the correct result according to the rules that they agreed to, you’re just plain wrong.”
Going on to explain his reasons for why he scored the fight for Mayes, Fuller also noted that he was pulled from judging any fights on the main card of UFC 277 after Rogan’s comments were made. Fuller expressed that it was “okay” and that he’s not mad, but the problem is the damage to his reputation in the eyes of the commission.
“This is my first time in the UFC, and now I have a reputation of being a bad judge, Fuller said. “Millions of people heard those comments. So this is why I’m responding.
“Two other judges obviously disagree, and I have no problem with that,” he continued. “But I just wanted to show you, I’m not an idiot, I’m not bad at scoring, I don’t not know what I’m looking at. I do know what I’m looking at, and in fact, I would say I know the rules that I just said to you better than the announcers, because the announcers just went through the course that I went through 12 years ago, and their scores were all over the place.”
Following the release of his video, the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration has clarified to MMA Fighting’s Steven Marrocco that they have a policy in place asking all judges to “refrain from commenting publicly on scoring.”
In Fuller’s case, he may not have to worry about judging any more UFC fights anytime too soon.
“When I don’t think something’s right, I’m a little bit of a rebel, so I just don’t listen to it,” Fuller said. “Hopefully this doesn’t cost me my future judging career. Maybe it’s just my ego causing me to do this whole thing. It’s probably a bad idea. I probably can’t win here. But I think it will bring education. It could bring understanding.”