ONE upholds Ok’s win, CEO remains confident on judges’ decision-making abilities

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Christian Lee made clear what he wanted but Ok Rae Yoon can sigh a relief as his ownership of the ONE World Lightweight Title has been validated by ONE Championship.

This was confirmed by ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong’s post in his Facebook page.

The Competition Committee of Asia’s biggest martial arts promotion was called on by Lee to look into Ok’s controversial unanimous decision victory at ONE: Revolution and after conducting its formal review, it upheld the judges decision of handing the Korean the by unanimous decision.

Ok got the nod of majority of the 14 votes by current and former judges, officials and athletes, because of ‘internal damage’ he inflicted against Lee.

Ok shock the lightweight division by hacking a unanimous decision win to register his 16th career win against 3 losses and took over possession of the title held twice before by Team Lakay’s Eduard Folayang in the main event of ONE: Revolution held last September 24 at Singapore.

The review was initiated by ONE when “The Warrior” made his feelings about the result public after the fight.

The loss, which dropped Lee’s MMA record to  15-4, was vehemently protested by him and his camp. He went on to state that the result was “bulls***” and should be reversed, his belt be returned and the loss be removed from his record.

Support for both fighters for the committee is reportedly split.

Some is of the opinion that Lee won the fight because of damage inflicted Ok and the near finishes he executed, which are on top of the list in earning points in ONE’s judging criteria.

Still, another block are said to have favored Ok because of the “internal damage” he caused Lee. The effects was in fact made visible as Lee was seen to have slowed down in the last two rounds.

In the end, the committee made the judges decision stand in this very close fight, just like they did in the Denice Zamboanga vs Seo Hee Ham, victor of their ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals last September 3, 2021.

Ok took offense at Lee’s comments. “I don’t think this is a beautiful thing to see what Christian is doing”, he said.

He instead  suggested instead book a rematch to see who is the best but with him as the defending champion. “He can challenge me for the belt again, and not go to the board trying to flip the decision. It’s already out and it’s unanimous,” he added.

Sityodtong, himself, thought the fight was super close and noticed how emotions are still running high to many fans of both fighters and many them remain heatedly divided on the issue, agreeing with the competition committee’s opinions.

“For Christian’s supporters, they believe that his near finishes and external damage were more than sufficient to guarantee the victory. For Ok’s supporters, they believe that Ok’s high volume of strikes created significant internal damage, visibly impacting Christian’s abilities and gas”, post said.

Sityodtong agreed the fight was not easy for anyone to score and his friends in the global martial arts community are split roughly 50-50 on who won.

Just like in the Zamboanga case, he personally disagrees with the judges’ decision but respects it despite having Lee winning in his eyes.

He also pointed his belief that ONE works with the most competent judges and officials in the world. “Since ONE launched in 2011, there have been only a handful of controversial decisions (out of 1,372 fights) that have gone to official review. This hit rate of fair decisions is definitely at the top of the industry. It is a testament to the external judges and officials used by ONE”, the post continued.

This was just the sixth fight review in ONE’s history, coming hot on the heels of upholding Ham’s controversial split decision win over Denice Zamboanga held last September 3.

There has been only one losing decision that was overturned to a win, China’s Ma Jiawen featherweight MMA defeat by Muay Thai star Sagetdao Petpayathai flipped over in June 2018.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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