It’s becoming increasingly clear that people should steer clear of any MMA event in far-flung places where respectable athletic commissions don’t run the show.
An event in the Dominican Republic attracted former UFC fighters such as Keith Jardine recently on the promise of big money purses, but only attracted “between 20 and 100 people.” Needless to say, all the checks bounced when the fights got back home.
And then there’s this little travesty, where former UFC fighter Hermes Franca traveled to Costa Rica to take part in Xtreme Vale Tudo, where he reportedly completely outclassed Frenchman Ferrid Kheder. The referee has Franca as the winner, as did all three judges. But when it came time for the ref to raise Franca’s hand, the promoter told the ref to raise Kheder’s instead.
The ref refused, and raised Franca’s hand before the cheering crowd, so the promoter walked around behind him and put the belt on Kheder’s waist instead as the crowd descended into boos.
Fight officials told ringsiders that they had Franca as the victor, but the event officials simply weren’t going to allow him to go home with the belt unless he knocked out Kheder.
it’s a disgusting display of corruption and it’s on video.
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan commented on the decision online, saying “OK, I just watched the fight, and it was worse than I thought. What a TERRIBLE decision, and what the f–k was up with that referee standing them up when Hermes had his back? Hermes CLEARLY won 2 rounds, 1 and 3, and I could see an argument for him winning the 2nd too, but at least that one was close. The other 2 were not. Hermes, sorry you got robbed, man.”
It gets worse. One of the organizers of the event is a woman named Lu Dwyer, owner of J L Irrigation in Fresno, California, co-producer of Zombie Hunters, and the person who produced this event for TV. She’s not only a sponsor of Ferrid Kheder, but also his business partner.
Through JL, Dwyer supports “Team FK” by paying his living expenses and taking a percentage of his winnings. She promotes his website on her Facebook page.
So Franca was fighting a guy who is literally the property of the promoters, and who gets a cut of his winnings and future earnings. There was no way they were going to let Franca win unless he KTFOed Kheder.
Disgruntled fans have changed Kheder’s Wikipedia page to show the result as a Franca victory. Small victories.
UPDATE: Lu Dwyer, feeling the heat from folks online, has announced the fight has been reversed (kind of) and changed to a “no contest” according to Kheder’s Facebook page. She still doesn’t apparently understand that, as promoter, she doesn’t get to call the result. The judges called it a win for Franca, and that’s how the world sees it.
This, of course, is the same Dwyer who has telling people on Facebook to “tell it to someone who cares” when they posted about the fight.
The punchline to all this is Dwyer is now calling for an immediate rematch. Just a guess, but I’m betting she wants that rematch on her fight card.
Franca should tell her to go pound dirt, as should every other self-respecting fighter, ref, judge and fan.
Here’s the fight in its entirety. See for yourself.Tags: Mixed Martial Arts