Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McSweeney's Proposed Appeal of his Loss to Travis Browne Will Not Prevail

As reported here at Mmajunkie.com, James McSweeney intends to appeal his loss to Travis Browne this past Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter Finale because he believes he was hit with illegal blows to the back of the head after the fight went to the ground

As you will recall, Referee Kim Winslow stopped the fight in the first round after Browne mounted McSweeney and started unloading.

As set forth in the article, McSweeney intends to appeal the decision and seek a no-contest, although, according to Mmajunkie, McSweeney's manager "acknowledges it's unlikely the NSAC will do so."

Keith Kizer, Executive Director of the NSAC, is quoted in the Mmajunkie article as follows, "[h]ow he got a cut on the back of his head, I have no idea, [b]ut I don't remember seeing any illegal elbows, so ... it's a discretionary call by the referee, and he lost the fight by referee stoppage in the first round."

I agree with Keith Kizer that the call was discretionary and I agree with McSweeney's manager that under the NSAC Rules, there is virtually no chance of success for any potential appeal. 

Under Section, 467.770, "Change of decision after contest or exhibition: Factors considered by Commission," except in instances where the Commission changes a result based on drug use etc.:

"the Commission will not change a decision rendered at the end of any contest or exhibition unless:

1. The Commission determines that there was collusion affecting the result of the contest or exhibition;

2. The compilation of the scorecards of the judges discloses an error which shows that the decision was given to the wrong unarmed combatant; or

3. As the result of an error in interpreting a provision of this chapter, the referee has rendered an incorrect decision."

Under this provision, unless there is collusion affecting the result, an error in the tabulation of the judges' scorecards which shows that the wrong fighter won, or an error in the result because the referee interpreted a provision of Regulation 467 incorrectly leading to the wrong decision, the Commission will not change a decision.

Here, the only part of the decision that McSweeney could take issue with is whether the referee correctly exercised her discretion in failing to call a foul. However, because the Regulations do not provide that a decision will be changed as a result of an error in exercising discretion (under the appropriate regulations), there is no basis in my opinion for the Commission to overturn the referee's decision.  In fact, the article states that Winslow instructed the fighters before the fight about illegal blows and the fact that the area behind the head was foul territory. 

Accordingly, Winslow knew the appropriate rule and simply made the call at the moment as she saw it.

In my opinion, the decision stands.   

Fight Lawyer