Photos: James Krause (© Jason Da Silva-USA TODAY Sports)

Shocking reports emerge on controversial UFC 247 judge – Appeal to be filed

Judge Joe Soliz, who was criticised for scoring in several UFC 247 fights, has come under the spotlight as some incriminating information emerges

“Never leave it in the hands of the judges” is a quote often heard in MMA, but in the case of UFC 247, one judge has come under fire for his personal connections to a certain team. 

UFC 247 continues to be an event marred by questionable judging. Most controversy has surrounded the main event between Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes. It was a very close fight, and while many can at lease concede a 3-2 scoring to either fighter on account of how close the third round was, one judges scoring has cause a stir. Judge Joe Soliz scored four out of five rounds to Jones at UFC 247, scoring that came under heavy criticism from all sides.

Now Soliz is in the spotlight once again. In an earlier preliminary fight between Trevin Giles and James Krause, Soliz was also tasked with scoring. In the first round Krause has dominant position for over four minutes, attempting several positions and holding top control almost through the entire round. Judge Soliz scored that round for Giles.

The fight ended in a split decision win for Giles. However, if Soliz had scored the first round for Krause, as the other judges and almost all other media outlets did, Krause would have won the fight, assuming the judges would have continued to score the other two rounds the same way they did.

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UFC commentator Joe Rogan brought up this controversial scoring on his podcast. “The first round, Krause had his back for four minutes and [Soliz] gave that round to Giles, which is insane,” Rogan said.

While Soliz’ scoring is baffling, it didn’t come off as more than poor scoring. Now it seems there may have been a conflict of interest.

TSA’s Aaron Bronsteter revealed that Soliz used to train under Eric Williams, head coach at Elite MMA. Williams was cornering Giles against Krause at UFC 247. Soliz recieved his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Williams in 2008, and left the gym in 2010. Despite this, Soliz maintains that this previous connection in no way affected his scoring at UFC 247.

“I haven’t been in contact or associated with [Elite MMA] in over eight years,” Soliz told TSN when asked about the potential of his Elite MMA connections causing a conflict of interest.

This doesn’t seem entirely correct, however. TSN also reached out to Williams, who says that it’s been substantially less than eight years since contact with Soliz.

“I’ve known Joe for years,” Williams told TSN. “I haven’t talked to him in probably a year and a half or two years. The problem is it’s kind of a small world, so you get people crossing paths and I think that you’re going to have stuff like that happen. Whenever you can prevent it, I would. But again, I don’t worry about it. If you finish the fight, you don’t have to worry about those kinds of things. I really don’t concern myself with it.”

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When Krause and his team became aware of this they obviously did not take it well. The Texas Athletic Commission has already been heavily critiqued after UFC 247, as there were several controversial outcomes. These recent reports certainly did not do much to help their case, and Krause and his team plan on filing an appeal to the commission to overturn the result.

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If this isn’t the most frustrating shit for me in the world I don’t know what… how is this not a conflict of interest? Training at someone’s gym for 10+ years and receiving a black belt from the coach corner my opponent. I no way am I mad I lost the fight, it was close. 1 was mine, 2 was his, and 3 was a toss up. But round 3 was given to me on 2/3 cards. It was round 1 they scored for him. After a take down and almost 4 minutes of back control, not to mention almost finishing the RNC, I don’t know how they would give that round to him. This sport has been around for too long to not start making changes. I know the Texas State Athletic Commission wont do a damn thing about my fight. They never do but I hope the @ufc, @danawhite, and the state commissions can come together to actually make the judging for OUR sport, not boxing and hold the people doing these jobs accountable. This is a disgrace to our sport. Not just my fight but multiple examples of incompetence from the same judge. So frustrated to even read this shit… and remember I lost half my purse because of this guy.

A post shared by James Krause (@thejameskrause) on

“I was informed that one of the judges of the James Krause versus Trevin Giles bout had a close previous relationship with one of Giles’ coaches,” Krause’s manager Jason House told TSN in a statement. “If true, this is deeply concerning. These athletes risk and sacrifice too much for there not to be a fair playing field. As we are currently in the appeals process, we are withholding further comment. It is our hope that the appeals process will work as designed and uphold the integrity of our sport.”

Even before these recent reports the Texas Athletic Commission was in question. They have not yet adopted the new unified rules of MMA, and many fans and media outlets alike do not want to see more title or high-profile fights in the state. Regardless of high-stakes fights or not, fighters lives, finances and futures are also in the hands of the judges who score the fights. Krause’s future in the UFC was directly affected by Soliz scoring. This makes it painfully clear that several governing bodies who regulate MMA need to come under more scrutiny, to prevent such issues from happening again.

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com

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