Gilbert Burns is just one of many people who have spoken out about an MMA judge at a recent UFC event, but he is the first person to recommend that the FBI investigate them. The judge in question is Joel Ojeda, who was one of the men presiding over the main event fight between Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen at UFC on ESPN 43 on March 25th, 2023. The other two judges in attendance awarded Sandhagen the win with scores of 50-45 and 49-46, so while there was a little difference they were both in agreement on how the fight went in general.
Ojeda agreed with his colleagues on how the first two rounds went, awarding them both to Sandhagen, but after that he went wildly out of sync with them and awarded all of the last three rounds to Vera. Now only was Ojeda out of sync with his colleagues, but also with virtually everyone who was watching the fight in the venue and at home. As Burns explained in a recent interview with TMZ Sports, he’s friends with Vera and even he didn’t understand how that happened:
“I think this judge needs to be investigated. We need the FBI on this judge. Because those judges may be working with the betting company, getting a third person to bet. I just think it’s not real, I think those guys are being dirty and maybe try to get money out of this. Chito’s my guy and I want him to win, but there’s no way he won that fight. It’s clear to anyone. What’s wrong with that judge? It’s not the first time. What bothers me is that it doesn’t stop. We have to do something or I dunno, nothing changes.”
Burns does of course have a vested interest in ensuring that MMA judging improves, as he’s still an active fighter on the UFC roster himself. He has a fight lined up against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287 on April 8th, 2023 and a single incorrect judge can cost any fighter the win, along with forever altering the trajectory of their career afterward. While it’s unlikely that the FBI ever chooses to investigate a single MMA judge, Gilbert Burns is right that something needs to be done about the state of judging in the sport. It’s an issue that arises time and time again, and dozens upon dozens of fighters have suffered as a result of it not being fixed as yet.
The full interview that Gilbert Burns gave to TMZ Sports where he recommended that the FBI investigate the MMA judge in question was uploaded to their official YouTube channel: