Judges at controversial MMA match disciplined

By Hieu Luong   April 27, 2023 | 06:00 am PT
Judges at controversial MMA match disciplined
Tran Ngoc Luong (L) is declared the victor against Robson de Oliveira at a LION Championship match in HCMC on April 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Huyen
The Vietnam Mixed Martial Arts Federation (VMMAF) has disciplined three judges from the controversial Oliveira v. Ngoc Luong match last Saturday.

The VMMAF met on Monday to discuss the LION Championship 2023 match between Brazilian fighter Robson De Oliveira and his Vietnamese opponent Tran Ngoc Luong at Ho Chi Minh City’s Rach Mieu Gymnasium.

The VMMAF admitted to mistakes regarding the match’s results, and the three judges involved have apologized to the fighters, their clubs, and MMA fans for awarding the win to Ngoc Luong, despite Oliveira apparently dominating the match.

VMMAF said that what happened was the result of technical errors, not corruption.

"The fault lies in the judges' expertise and personal opinions," said a press release issued on Thursday.

The release added that fault especially belonged to the personal opinions of the first and second judges.

The VMMAF said the first judge, Ngo Quoc Thang, and the second judge, Tran Trung Nghia, would no longer be part of the 2023 LION Championship. The third judge, Nguyen Dang Khoa, has been suspended for the next three LION events.

A rematch between Oliveira and Ngoc Luong is now being planned.

Oliveira, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, performed multiple effective techniques that completely overwhelmed Luong during the match. However, two judges Thang and Nghia gave Luong a higher score, and thus the win.

Oliveira looked bewildered when the result was announced and his coach Bottiglieri laughed sarcastically. They left the match early and did not stay for the awards ceremony. Bottiglieri said that this was the first and also the last time Oliveira would attend a LION Championship in Vietnam.

The LION Championship is the first professional MMA tournament in Vietnam. It hosts nine weight classes.

The total prize money for last year's first season was VND3 billion ($127,000).

Brazilian flighter Robson De Oliveira looks confused after being announced the loser in an MMA match with Tran Ngoc Luong at the LION Championship in HCMC, April 22, 2023. Video by VnExpress/Tue Nhi

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