Angela Lee thinks Zamboanga edged Ham but Committee upheld result

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Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga has to live by the official results of her bout with “Arale Chan” Seo Hee Ham as ONE Championship’s Competition Committee upheld the judges decision to award a split-decision win to the Korean during the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals at ONE: EMPOWER last September 3, 2021.

This was confirmed by ONE chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong, himself, to the South China Morning Post.

Nine members of the 14-man committee voted to stand by the result after review. Sityodtong said the committee is made up of a combination of internal and external officials, experts, former athletes and judges.

It should also be noted that ONE uses the Global MMA Ruleset, which scores the whole fight rather than the round by round method under the more widely-adopted Unified Rules.

This system is designed to put more emphasis on damage inflicted during an entire fight being more important for judges to score.

It will be recalled Ham edged Zmboanga in a close contest. The Filipina grappler, however, felt she had the upper hand and protested the result. The objection did not fall to deaf ears as Sityodtong send the fight result for review to the committee.

“I do feel Denice was owed at least a fair due process instead of just leaving it hanging there, but at the same time, I think both Ham and Denice can be very proud of their performances.”, said Sidtyodtong.

The ONE honcho said Zamboanga will not be left dry as she now faces Julie Mezabarba in an alternate bout for the grand prix. The Brazilian beat Japanese veteran former title challenger Mei Yamaguchi by unanimous decision, also in an alternate bout, on her ONE debut during the same event.

Sityodtong emphasized its the competition committee’s role to do its best to ensure fair play. In fairness to Ham, Zamboanga has a solid basis to claim victory because of the way she controlled the fight and got the upperhand on the ground but Ham’s efficient striking made it was a very close fight that could’ve gone either way.

In ONE’s more than a decade history, there have only been four other fight reviews. All had contrasting results

Ham joins Team Lakay’s Edward Kelly as fighters whose victories were upheld by the committee.

Kelly officially owns a victory over the promotion’s lightweight titleholder, Christian Lee, because he was disqualified for an illegal suplex during a bout held on September 2018, a result upheld by the committee.

Former UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez’s original loss by disqualification for illegal blows to the back of the head against Iuri Lapicus in April, 2021 was overturned to a no contest.

On May, 2019, the judges awarded Petchmorakot Petchyindee a split deision win over Giorgio Petrosyanin in their featherweight kickboxing grand prix quarter-final bout However, the result has been overturned to a no contest after it was determined the referee did not adequately control illegal clinching resulting in multiple infractions during the bout. A rematch was subsequently ordered.

China’s Ma Jiawen saw his featherweight MMA loss against Muay Thai star Sagetdao Petpayathai overturned to a victory in June 2018. This was the only time a fight has been reversed.

Meanwhile, atomweight champion Angela Lee shared her thoughts that Zamboanga have “edged out” Ham to win the bout but saw also a close bout where either of them can win.

The “Unstoppable”, who traded barbs with Zamboanga on her not vacating the title when she got pregnant, fired one more subtle shot at her rival when she noted that anyone who’s on the losing side of a questionable  decision is gonna call for it to be reviewed.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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