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Sunday, September 24, 2017

In light of Adalaide Byrd's controversial 118-110 scorecard in favour of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in his titanic fight against Gennady Golovkin last weekend, we take a look at eight of Byrd's most questionable judging moments in MMA.

Note: this list is not necessarily meant to be an indictment of Byrd's ability to judge an MMA fight. Any judge with a significant number of fights on his or her ledger will undoubtedly have several debatable decisions to their name.

Clay Guida vs. Marcus Aurelio

UFC 74
August 25, 2007
Byrd: 29-28 Aurelio (View Scorecards)

With Clay Guida prone to being in split decisions, and Byrd's propensity for controversy, it may not be surprising that this result was disputed.

In round one, Guida seemingly secured the frame when he scored a clean knockdown of Aurelio. In round two, Guida landed three times as many strikes as Aurelio, according to FightMetric.com. Those two rounds alone should have been enough to earn Guida a comfortable decision.

In fact, all three tracked media outlets and two of the three judges thought Guida earned a 3-0 sweep in rounds. But it was Byrd who dissented, managing to find two of three rounds to give to Aurelio.

Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan

TUF 12 Finale
December 4, 2010
Byrd: 29-28 Garcia (View Scorecards)

This was one of Byrd's earliest brushes with MMA infamy, but one she shared with fellow Nevadan judge Tony Weeks, as they both scored this slugfest for Leonard Garcia.

The first round was debateable, as evidenced by the FightMetric.com striking stats. But Garcia's windmill-style punches became decreasingly effective as the fight wore on, with Phan consistently outlanding his opponent.

But both Byrd and Weeks saw the third round for Garcia, giving him the fight. All five tracked media scorers disagreed, as did 39 of 41 fan scorecards.

Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha

UFC 126
February 5, 2011
Byrd: 30-27 Rocha (View Scorecards)

It's not often the fighter on the losing end of a three-round decision manages to win 30-27 on the dissenting judge's scorecard. This was one of those cases.

After Rocha won the first round in most viewer's eyes, Ellenberger went only to control and win the next two rounds according to two of the three judges.

Not only did Adalaide Byrd's scorecard have Rocha winning, it had him winning all three rounds. None of the tracked media scorers or fan scorecards submitted to MMAdecisions.com had Rocha winning either one of the final two rounds.

Nate James vs. Danillo Villefort, Round 1

ShoMMA 18
August 12, 2011
Byrd: 10-9 James (Round 1) (View Scorecards)

The contention in this scorecard is the first round, a round that could be divided into three segments.

The first half of the round was spent at striking range, with neither fighter getting a distinct advantage. From there, the fight moved to the clinch, with Villefort largely pinning James against the cage, but with few significant strikes from either fighter. Finally, Villefort was able to take James to the mat with a judo toss, move to mount and then to James' back. Villefort threatened to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke and ended the round in the dominant position, seemingly securing the round.

Commentators Stephen Quadros and Pat Miletich declared that Villefort won the round, as did all three tracked media scorers. And so did all cageside judges not named Adalaide Byrd.

Jamie Varner vs. Melvin Guillard

UFC 155
December 29, 2012
Byrd: 30-27 Guillard (View Scorecards)

To most observers, the only question after three rounds of action was whether or not Varner won two or three rounds of the fight. In fact, two of the judges thought Varner swept all three rounds.

Byrd agreed that there was a shutout, but instead for Guillard, 30-27.

All ten tracked media scorers saw the fight for Varner. And only 2 out of 59 fan scorecards submitted to MMAdecisions.com agreed that Guillard won the fight, and those were only by 29-28 totals.

Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie, Round 1

UFC 162
July 6, 2013
Byrd: 10-9 Kennedy (Round 1) (View Scorecards)

Though there was no argument that Tim Kennedy won this fight, many onlookers were shocked to hear that two of the three judges awarded Kennedy the first round. Those two judges were Adalaide Byrd and Glenn Trowbridge.

Gracie, the world-renowned jiu jitsu ace, spent over 90 seconds of the first frame with back control, in a round where Kennedy was unable to land a single recorded strike to Gracie's head. Yet, Byrd and Trowbridge found enough justification to give the American a 10-9 advantage.

Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Phillipe Nover

UFC Fight Night 80
December 10, 2015
Byrd: 29-28 Nover (View Scorecards)

Only seven months after being the benefactor of a questionable split decision win over Yui Chul Nam, Phillipe Nover once again found himself dealing with a contentious scorecard.

This time, Nover was only able to sway one of the judges in his favour -- that judge being Adalaide Byrd. None of the 13 tracked media scorers agreed with Byrd, nor did any of the 18 submitted fan scorecards.

Bryan Caraway vs. Aljamain Sterling

UFC Fight Night 88
May 29, 2016
Byrd: 29-28 Sterling (View Scorecards)

When the final bell sounded in round three of this fight, most observers figured the decision boiled down to one question: did Sterling do enough in round one to earn a 10-8 score? Popular opinion was that this would have earned Sterling a draw, since the second and third rounds were clear Caraway rounds. Or so they thought.

As it turned out, Byrd didn't give a 10-8 in round one and somehow saw enough evidence to give Sterling the second round. This resulted in a 29-28 Sterling scorecard, which differed from all 25 of the tracked media scorers, and the other two cageside judges.


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