ACB Clarifies ‘No Draw Rule’ After Judging Incident at Manchester Show

By Peter Carroll Mar 15, 2017
Mixed martial arts organization Absolute Championship Berkut has clarified its “no draw rule” stipulation after questions were raised when an official from the promotion asked a judge to re-score a fight between Joshua Aveles and Amirkhan Adaev on Saturday night in Manchester.

Following the 15-minute fray at ACB 54 at the Manchester Arena, the fight was announced as a split draw. One judge gave the fight to Aveles, another to Adaev, with judge Dan Mellor scoring the fight a draw.

Mellor confirmed to Sherdog.com that an ABC official asked him to pick a winner in the bout between Aveles and Adaev following the initial announcement, and after some of his own inquiries, he selected Aveles as the winner of the bout.

After three more fights, the master of ceremonies for the event informed the crowd that there had been “an error in the tabulation of the scores” for the bout before he announced Joshua Aveles as the winner of the contest via split decision.

As he was called in on short notice to judge the fights on the night, Mellor assumed that the fights were being scored by the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Mellor claimed that at no time before he was asked to pick a winner between Aveles and Adaev was he made aware that ACB observed a different rule set.

Sherdog.com reached out to ACB for a comment on the incident, and the promotion clarified that its rule set and scoring system were communicated to the head judge.

They also highlighted that the judge in question, Mellor, came to them on short notice and suggested the incident came to be because of a “miscommunication.”

The promotion’s full statement is as follows:

We have been asked to respond to the article regarding a judge being asked at ACB 54 in Manchester to re-score the fight between Amirkhan Adaev and Joshua Aveles as they scored the fight as a draw.

The simple fact of the matter is that under the current ACB rule set no draws can be scored.

We are not the only organization to use a 'no draw rule.' IMMAF also use this scoring system and it is a system they worked out with the Nevada State Athletic commission to come up with.

We implement these rules because we do not want to put the athletes through a further, and deciding round, but also as a promotion, we do not want a division to be held up by rematches when we believe that it should be possible for three judges to use their expertise and knowledge to pick a winner. A 10 – 10 round in MMA should be extremely rare and is not a score to be used as an excuse by a judge that cannot assess the differences in the round.

If by some means, like on Saturday night, a judge does score a fight as a draw then that judge will be approached by an official and asked to score the fight as a whole and to pick a winner, which is exactly what happened in this instance.

We do know that our rule set and scoring system had been communicated from our head commissioner to the head judge. What we should take into account is that the judge in this instance came to us on extremely short notice. We would like to say that they were superb throughout the event. They were highly professional and we are very happy and thank them for the job they delivered at ACB 54. There obviously seems to be a miscommunication here and one that ACB will fully investigate and implement a new procedure to make sure this doesn't happen again.

We are proud of the event we put on in Manchester. 48 athletes got the opportunity to make the walk of a lifetime out into the iconic Manchester Arena to compete, an opportunity that possibly the only other promotion that could offer them that would be the UFC. They rose to the occasion and made it the night it was and it’s a shame that with all they delivered there is such focus being put on one negative incident during the night.

#MoreFighting #NoDraws”


It seems as though Mellor was not the only person at the event who was unaware of the rule set and scoring system, as UK MMA veteran Ian Butlin, who attended the event in a media capacity, made a post on Marc Goddard’s Facebook page inquiring as to why the judge was made pick a winner in the contest.

Several other media members who were accredited for the event have told Sherdog.com that they were completely unaware that the promotion had adopted a hybrid ruleset while working at the event.

Noted UK referees and judges boycotted ACB in February after the promotion overturned two results from a January show, ACB 52, that took place in Vienna.

Patrik Kincl’s TKO win over Arbi Agujev in the main event was overturned to a no contest due to ACB promoter Mairbek Khasiev disagreeing with the stoppage, which he revealed to Karim Zidan of Bloody Elbow.

Khasiev also overturned another bout to a no contest because he disagreed that Joao Luis Nogueira did enough to deserve a unanimous decision win over Shamil Nikaev.

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