The decision by Ultimate Fighting Championship to remove a judge from UFC Fight Night “Bisping vs. Le” following the first two bouts has been deemed a breach of independent regulatory protocol by the organization.
Following an internal review, the UFC on Tuesday announced that UFC President Dana White requesting the removal of judge Howard Hughes was outside of his authority.
Hughes, who has served as a judge on more than 25 Zuffa cards, was removed from duty after scoring Milana Dudieva versus Elizabeth Phillips and Royston Wee versus Zhuikui Yao. Dudieva defeated Phillips via split decision, while Wee captured a split verdict over Yao.
Here is the full statement released by the UFC:
“After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC Fight Night Macao.
After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event’s five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC’s protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.
The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body. In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC’s protocol dictates that the organization's internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.
The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.
Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.”
It remains unclear if White will be subject to any sort of fine or punishment.