Rory MacDonald Laments ‘Clear Robbery’ Decision to Gleison Tibau, Asks for Review

By Jay Pettry Jun 18, 2021

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The main event of Professional Fighters League’s fifth show in 2021 left many scratching their head, including the man most heavily impacted.

Atop PFL 5: 2021 Regular Season, Rory MacDonald suffered a contentious split decision loss to Gleison Tibau. The overwhelming majority of those viewing the contest, including Sherdog’s official scorer, believed that MacDonald had done enough to get the nod. Judges Dave Tirelli and Cardo Urso disagreed, awarding the Brazilian the first and third rounds for the decision.

At the post-fight press conference, MacDonald was asked about the result, and the typically stoic Canadian had several thoughts on what went down mere minutes beforehand.

“I’m very disappointed,” a crestfallen MacDonald told media. “I believe…everyone I talked to, everybody online scored the fight for me. Even three rounds to zero, and I think it was a clear robbery. I thought I was dominant in this fight, but it was a hard fight. Gleison brought it, and respect to him, but I believe that I clearly won that fight and I think that this should be looked into.”

The loss for MacDonald does not eject him from the 2021 PFL tournament altogether, as a submission win a few months prior earned him six points and a playoff berth. It still is listed as a loss on his record, which does not sit well with “The Red King.”

“I was totally sure I had [won], I was so surprised when the first judge they announced scored it for [Tibau], I was shocked,” MacDonald continued. “But when I heard the split decision that he got, I was blown away. I mean, what do you say. I just didn’t see it that way at all.”

When asked if his confidence was shaken about judging, especially going forward in the playoffs – the events will be held in Florida, and not in N.J. like this regular season – MacDonald expressed some concerns.

“We shouldn’t have to [worry about decisions] as fighters, as competitors,” the Canadian stated. “We should be able to fight, and rest easy that we have competent, fair, truthful judging in our sport. It shouldn’t be something that we have to worry about and stick our necks out on the line and our health to do something stupid. It’s just crazy. We don’t have this in any other major sporting event. It just seems like over, and over, and over again we’re getting this in our sport, and it’s just a real shame.”

MacDonald’s path to get the result reviewed is to submit a complaint to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, as it was recently responsive to controversy. Fabricio Werdum suffered a contentious knockout to Renan Ferreira, and just days later, the commission overturned the result to a no contest.

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