June 23, 2024

Dana White rips judge scoring fight for Paulo Costa at UFC 302: ‘It was f*cking nuts’

Judge Dave Tirelli might not want to apply to score any UFC fights in the near future.

Despite a long history judging fights since 2010, Tirelli landed on UFC CEO Dana White’s bad side after he had Paulo Costa winning over Sean Strickland on Saturday night in the UFC 302 co-main event. The other two judges had Strickland coasting to victory with 50-45 and 49-46 scorecards, which gave the former UFC champ a split-decision win, but Tirelli went almost in the complete opposite direction with his scoring.

Earlier in the night, Tirelli had a similar incident when he scored Mitch Raposo winning his fight against Andre Lima, with the other two judges vehemently disagreeing with 30-27 scores going to the Brazilian, who ultimately won the split decision.

“That wasn’t weird, it was f*cking nuts is what it was,” White said reacting to Tirelli’s scorecard in the Strickland vs. Costa fight. “It’s insane. That guy should never [judge] another big fight again. They should kick him back down to the minor leagues and let him work on his judging. It’s unbelievable.”

While Strickland’s performance against Costa wasn’t exactly a legendary shutout, he clearly did enough to earn the victory, yet Tirelli still gave Costa four out of the five rounds on his scorecard.

White was dumbfounded by Tirelli’s scoring, which also left a shocked look on Strickland’s face after UFC announcer Bruce Buffer read the decision in the octagon.

The decision still went Strickland’s way as expected, but White can’t fathom how Tirelli messed up his scorecard so badly.

“How anybody who isn’t an absolute f*cking lunatic could call that fight a split decision,” White said. “I don’t even know what to say about that. It’s insane. That guy shouldn’t be judging big fights.”

As far as Strickland’s performance, White admitted it wasn’t the barnburner he expected, but part of the blame also falls on Costa’s shoulders.

Best known for his explosive knockouts and memorable wars, Costa spent the majority of the five-round fight backing up and refusing to really engage in any big exchanges with Strickland.

When he did attack, Costa managed to do significant damage to Strickland’s lead leg with kicks, but he never really followed up with any effective offense to sway the fight in his favor.

“It’s not the fight I expected,” White said of the matchup. “Every time you see Paulo Costa in a fight, it’s a war. He usually goes to war, but you could tell tonight, he couldn’t get off. Brilliant kicking the leg the way he did. Strickland is tough as hell. He was eating those leg kicks all night. I’m wondering how he’s walking, because I haven’t heard anything but [Costa] did some big damage to that front leg.

“I thought [Strickland] fought a beautiful, perfect fight. He’s a very awkward guy to fight and how he throws those teep kicks and his hands are so good, he’s very elusive and [has] a beautiful jab, and he basically picked Costa apart and shut him down.”