File Photo: Stephen Albanese/Tailstar.com
The combat sports wing of Quebec’s Régie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux (RACJ) has formally decided on the four men who will preside over Saturday night's hotly anticipated rematch between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
The RACJ has selected Yves Lavigne, Quebec’s most experienced senior referee to oversee the bout in the cage. This comes as little surprise, as it was expected the commission would select from a trio of Lavigne, the notoriously shaky Philippe Chartier and the less experienced Marc-Andre Cote to assign the main event duty.
The three judges scoring the bout will be Tony Weeks of Nevada, Sal D’Amato of Wisconsin, and Pasquale Procopio of Quebec.
Weeks and D’Amato were selected from a group of three out-of-province judges, the third being Nelson “Doc” Hamilton, who likely was denied the assignment as he judged the first Machida-Rua bout in Los Angeles last October. It is highly uncommon for commissions to select an official to judge a rematch after working the first encounter.
Procopio is the most intriguing selection, as he beat out fellow Quebecois judges Claude Paquette and David Therien for the assignment. A former boxer in the 1980's, Procopio has become perhaps Quebec's top boxing judge, but has very little MMA experience. On paper, the most likely candidate would have been Paquette, who has the cageside judging experience.
If Machida and Rua’s first encounter seven months ago is any indication, the scoring of the bout may be critical. In the first clash, all three judges -- the aforementioned Nelson Hamilton, Cecil Peoples and Marcos Rosales -- all scored the bout 48-47 Machida. The overwhelming public sentiment was that Rua deserved the nod in the bout, an emotion exacerbated by the judges' comments following the bout, including Hamilton's admission that upon re-watching the bout, he felt Rua deserved the win.
Below are a list of notable scorecards turned in by D'Amato and Weeks, two regular judges for Zuffa cards. The cross-section of scorecards is intended to show their judgements in fights that were seen as particularly close, contentious or controversial.
L.C. Davis 30-27 over Javier Vazquez (8/9/2009)
Takeya Mizugaki 29-28 over Jeff Curran (8/9/2009)
Carlos Condit 29-28 over Jake Ellenberger (9/16/2009)
Randy Couture 29-28 over Brandon Vera (11/14/2009)
Justin Wren 29-28 over Jon Madsen (12/5/2009)
Aaron Simpson 29-28 over Tom Lawlor (1/11/2010)
Frankie Edgar 48-47 over B.J. Penn (4/12/2010)
Rick Story 29-28 over Nick Osipczak (4/12/2010)
Hermes Franca 29-28 over Yves Edwards (4/2/2004)
Forrest Griffin 29-28 over Stephan Bonnar (4/9/2005)
Brad Imes 29-28 over Rashad Evans (11/5/2005)
Cheick Kongo 29-28 over Carmelo Marrero (10/14/2006)
Ricardo Almeida 29-28 over Patrick Cote (7/5/2008)
Antonio Banuelos 29-28 over Scott Jorgensen (6/7/2009)
Dan Hardy 29-28 over Marcus Davis (6/13/2009)
Rich Franklin 30-27 over Wanderlei Silva (6/13/2009)
Rob McCullough 30-27 over Karen Darabedyan (11/18/2009)
As Pasquale Procopio does not have a history of notable MMA bouts judged, here is a sampling of his more notable scorecards from boxing world title fights.
Lucian Bute 119-109 over Sergey Tatevosyan (1/26/2007)
Jean Pascal 115-113 over Kingsley Ikeke (8/3/2007)
Herman Ngoudjo 116-112 over Souleymane M'baye (6/6/2008)
Juan Urango 116-110 over Herman Ngoudjo (1/30/2009)
Yuriy Nuzhnenko 118-110 over Vyacheslav Senchenko (4/10/2009)
Gabriel Campillo 115-111 over Beibut Shumenov (8/15/2009)
Daiki Kameda 114-112 over Denkaosan Kaovichit (2/7/2010)
Apart from the previously stated fact that Procopio has no notable MMA judging experience, the most interesting angle to his boxing scorecards appears to be the unwarranted closeness of many of his scores. Though his resume does not include virtually any seriously contentious fights, Procopio consistently has the scoring margin between fighters much closer than his contemporaries, typically giving a losing fighter two to three more rounds than his fellow judges, even when scoring a bout for the same fighter via unanimous decision.