Shlemenko Files Protest Over Mousasi Win

Following a highly contested unanimous decision loss to Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 185, Alexander Shlemenko and his team have issued a formal protest to the Association of Boxing Commissions and the Mohegan Department of Athletic Regulation requesting a review of the controversial fight and to see if the decision can be overturned.

Originally reported by MMA Fighting on Thursday, following Shlemenko’s manager Alexei Zhernakov sent the outlet a copy of their protest. In the complaint Shlemenko’s team points out several issues regarding the judges’ decision, with a major focus on the second and third rounds of the October 20th fight, which took place in Uncasville, Conn. The root of the argument is that in round two saw Shlemenko do the majority of the damage while Mousasi could only offer ineffective grappling, and that the final frame could feasibly have been scored a 10-8 in favor of Shlemenko.

Below is the full complaint, edited only for formatting purposes:

On behalf of Alexander Shlemenko we would like to file a formal protest and asked for an official review of the results of Main Event between Gegard Mousasi and Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 185 on October 20, 2017.

While error in an officials discretion may not give rise to review an outcome, blatant disregard for enumerated rules and criteria of judging should warrant heightened scrutiny.

It is uncontroverted (sic) that despite suffering an orbital fracture that completely closed his right eye forcing a doctor’s review to determine his fitness to continue to fight, Mousasi captured the first round based upon effective grappling and submission attempts. Additionally, round three clearly was judged in favor of Shlemenko on based on every element of scoring criteria and a colorable claim can be made that it was a 10-8 round particularly in light of the ABC decree and new rules that mandated more liberal use of 10-8. Mousasi mounted zero offense, was significantly hurt and on ice skates a number of times standing, collapsed to his back twice in submissive retreat, and absorbed considerable ground damage.

In the light most favorable to the ultimate victor Mousasi, the fight turns on the second round. The Unified Rules state that judges must score based on, in order, effective striking/grappling which incorporates damage, aggression, and cage control. They are not supposed to consider the latter criteria unless there is not a clear victor based on the prior criteria.

In this the second round Mousasi striking and grappling save takedowns was virtually ineffective. While on the ground he touched Shlemenko with two soft elbows and stalled on his back for the final 1:29 of the round doing ZERO damage and making one attempt at a rear naked choke. During this second round and in the 3:31 of the period that was conducted on the feet, Shlemenko landed ELEVEN significant strikes and THREE significant kicks. Shlemenko bloodied Mousasi and completely closed his Mousasi’s eye, dominating the damage category. Shlemenko clearly dominated over two thirds of the round, walking down Mousasi and landing big strikes after big strike. Shlemenko also scored a takedowns which should nullify the takedowns Mousasi scored. It is beyond comprehension how any judge without a predisposition or bias, that watched the entirety of the round and not just the final ineffective minute that just favored positioning, a criteria that by the rules should NOT even be considered unless a winner can’t be determined based on effective striking/grappling, could scored the round in favor of Mousasi. Could the casual fan that watched as a fan, not applying the enumerated criteria, score the round for Mousasi? It is conceivable if they were distracted by the waning moments and did used a trained eye. Could any JUDGE who was entrusted to apply the UNIFIED RULES of first considering effective striking and grappling score the round for Mousasi, ABSOLUTELY NOT. It is impossible to rewatch the second round as a judge, apply the scoring criteria, and not score the round in Shlemenko’s favor.

The complaint ends with Zhernakov calling the decision an “injustice” and passionately imploring the ABC and the Mohegun Sun commission to acknowledge the protest so as to avoid future calamity.

Was this the biggest robbery in MMA scoring history? No, but that really isn’t relevant to the case at hand nor does it lessen the gravity of the felony. If you watch the second round as a competent judge should and applied the rules, the decision was unquestionably wrong and an injustice occurred. This injustice is so grave in fact that it dictates title shots, negotiations in new contracts, and affects the entire financial future for the aggrieved combatant. So herein lies the dilemma. What precedent does this set if a regulatory body were to overturn an official’s judgement determination? Will this open the flood gates for review? Will every decision be subject to protest and review? Does this undermine the legitimacy of the sport. We would argue that blatant disregard for the rules by entrusted officials does far more damage. Enough is enough, let’s take the correct action.

Martin Luther King once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On behalf of Alexander Shlemenko we implore you to review the second round of the fight, and score it. Further we humbly ask you the ABC, and the most revered and respected commission in the sport of MMA, the Mohegan Sun athletic Commission to take regulatory action and correct this injustice as the only thing evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing (Edmund Burke).

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