Johny Hendricks came within one round on one judge's scorecard of defeating UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre last Saturday in Las Vegas.
The decision met with great controversy, as many split decisions do.
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"I think part of the problem with the way the fight was scored was the rounds Johny won, he won decisively," UFC chief executive Lorenzo Fertitta said Thursday. "The rounds GSP won, I thought he won razor-thin. Therefore, when you combine it all together, the balance tends to lean toward Johny, but that's not how our scoring system works. It works you judge every round, round by round, you add it up at the end and that's the outcome."
Judges Sal D'Amato and Tony Weeks scored the fight 48-47 in favor of St-Pierre. Judge Glenn Trowbridge scored it 48-47 for Hendricks.
St-Pierre won rounds three and five on all score cards. Hendricks took rounds two and four. Round one was the deciding one, as two judges scored it for St-Pierre.
"You can watch that fight 10 times and maybe have 10 different decisions watching it," Fertitta said.
Fertitta scored the bout for Hendricks while watching it live and again on subsequent viewings, he said, adding that he believed the fight was even closer afterward.
"The first round was the one that was probably the closest," Fertitta said. "I think when they were against the fence and GSP was going for a double-leg, Johny started rattling off some pretty heavy elbows, and it startled GSP a little bit."
Compounding the controversy of the decision was St-Pierre's confusing post-fight interview inside the Octagon. He didn't retire. He didn't not retire.
"I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit," St-Pierre said on Saturday.
The champion cited issues in his personal life that he needed to tend to but would not elaborate then or at the post-fight news conference.
"It was weird, there's no other way to explain it than weird," said Fertitta, who was in Manhattan to promote a new study on the economic impact of legalizing MMA in the New York State. "Georges, I think he's fine. I think he's in a good frame of mind. I don't think he's retiring. I'll put it that way."
UFC president Dana White made some critical remarks afterward about St-Pierre's interview and the Nevada State Athletic Commission's judging. White said St-Pierre owes it to the fans, the UFC, Hendricks and his championship belt to fight again. He also called NSAC "atrocious" and "incompetent" and said he's scared to bring fights to Las Vegas, the home base of the UFC.
"It was an emotional night," Fertitta said. "Dana is going to speak his mind, he's going to tell you what he thinks and that's how he was feeling that night. That's the beauty of Dana. You're going to get exactly what he's thinking."