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On October 22, 2022, Matt Hampton and Kallum Parker faced off in an MMA bout at Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat 6 fight card, which took place at Commerce Casino in California. After 15 minutes, Parker was declared the unanimous decision winner. That result stood until the March 6, 2023, California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) meeting.
On that date, the CSAC overturned Parker’s decision victory and ruled the fight a no contest.
During the first minute of action in the third round of the 150-pound catchweight contest, Parker had Hampton against the fence. While the referee was watching the action from the right side of the combatants, Parker had his fingers laced through the cage for, from what was visible on the broadcast, at least 15 to 20 seconds. The foul was missed by the ref but caught by commentators Jim Cooley and Chad Shepherd, and Faber, who, according to the commentary, said something to referee Milan Ayers.
Not long after, Ayers moved to the left of the fighters, and according to the commentators, Parker then grabbed the fence with his right hand. They also noted that Hampton told the referee of the foul. Ayers did not warn Parker after the fence grabs, most likely because he did not see them from his vantage point.
However, Ayers—and everyone else in the arena and those watching the event on UFC Fight Pass—did not miss the fence grab with 1:51 left in the fight. That’s when Hampton lifted Parker in the air and seemed poised to slam him to the mat. That slam never came because Parker prevented it when he again grabbed the fence.
Ayers paused the contest to warn Hampton as an exasperated Parker stalked around the fighting surface. Still, the ref did not take a point, much to the dismay of Cooley, who said, “That actually changes the outcome of the fight. Now we don’t have the slam. We don’t have the takedown. Matt Hampton could lose this round when he could have won it had he gotten the takedown. I think a point needs to be taken.”
That point was not taken. As a result, Parker won, with all three MMA judges scoring the fight in his favor, 29-28.
How the CSAC hearing overturned the result of MMA fight
The CSAC addressed the issue on March 6. Before watching the video of the round, CSAC executive director Andy Foster noted, “This is a petition that Mr. Hampton alleges that there were fence grabs in Round 3, and I think the argument is if there weren’t fence grabs or if he had the point deduction, this fight would have had a different outcome.”
Foster then noted that he did not make a recommendation to the commission about changing the fight result before the meeting “because it’s difficult to say how much the lack of calling the foul would have impacted this fight.”
Foster added, “I think a no contest could, to some degree, be a justice, but that’s up to the commissioners to make that decision.”
Ronda Rousey’s mom weighed in
The commission then watched the video of the third round of the MMA fight. The first member of the commission to speak after the footage aired was Judo champion and Ronda Rousey’s mother, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, who was appointed to the CSAC in April 2022.
“I did see twice where he undeniably grabbed the fence,” said De Mars. “Once when he was being lifted up and once before. However, I don’t necessarily agree with the (in-fight) commentary from a loss to a win… I think it was referee error, and I think it (the result) should be changed to a no contest.”
Foster agreed with De Mars, saying, “We don’t know what would have happened if Matt Hampton puts him on the ground. I don’t know if he scoots and gets right back up or if Matt Hampton mounts him and puts him out. You don’t know, and all I can say is there was a fence grab, it did impact the fight, I don’t know how much.”
De Mars then made the motion to change the fight result to a no contest. That motion was quickly seconded, but before the commission ruled, MMA referee Ayers spoke about what happened inside the cage that night in October.
Even the Referee admitted he blew the call
Ayers said, “I take full responsibility. I did miss this call. There was an opportunity for a fence grab, based on my position, I didn’t see, but the second one, in review of the video, if I had this fight to do over, I would have indeed taken a point away from the combatant for the fence grab because he clearly prevented a takedown and we don’t know what the outcome of that would have been.
“But that isn’t my job. My job is to enforce the rules, and I didn’t do that, and to the commission, I do apologize and to the combatants. It won’t happen again.”
Foster then polled the commission members in attendance, and the motion to change the fight result from a unanimous decision victory for Parker to a no contest passed.
With the change in results, Hampton’s MMA record stands at 2-1-0-1, and Parker moves to 2-0-0-1. Neither man has fought since they met in October.
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