Unlike past bouts where a different winner was declared, One Championship decided against stripping a victory from Seo Hee Ham.
Ultimate Fighting Championship and Rizin Fighting Federation vet Ham (24-8, 1-0 One) clashed with Denice Zamboanga (8-1, 3-1 One) at One: Empower for a spot in the One atomweight grand prix semifinals. ’The Menace’ appeared to be in control of the fight, but Ham won the contest via decision. After the controversial victory, One Championship founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong announced that the promotion would review the outcome.
After review, the competition committee voted against changing the result, according to an interview conducted by South China Morning Post with the One chairman.
“It’s just one of these things,” the One head stated. “When I look at it objectively, I still believe Denice won, but I respect and can see how the judges scored it for Ham. It went to the committee, and I was obviously wrong relative to the committee.
“I do feel Denice was owed at least a fair due process instead of just leaving it hanging there, but at the same time, I think both Ham and Denice can be very proud of their performances.”
The “competition committee,” which is made up of 14 members whose identities are not disclosed, voted to review the fight. The committee holds the authority to not just overturn a result to a no contest, but award the victory to the other competitor. The panel consists of One officials, as well as “experts, former athletes and judges.” Ultimately, nine members voted in favor of "Hamderlei Silva," who now formally moves on in the tournament. Ham will join Nong Stamp, Ritu Phogat and Itsuki Hirata in the semifinals. Fan voting will determine the upcoming pairings.
Zamboanga is now slated to face Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1, 1-0 One) in an alternate tournament bout on an unannounced One event. The 28-year-old Brazilian Mezabarba has already competed an alternate contest, where she captured a decision over former title challenger Mei Yamaguchi.