Gleison Tibau claimed a controversial split decision win over Rory MacDonald at PFL 5 last night, with many believing his opponent had done enough to win.
MacDonald had been a high profile signing for PFL from Bellator and quickly won his debut by submission against Curtis Millender back in April, but despite being the favorite to win against former UFC lightweight veteran Tibau, things didn’t go according to plan for him.
MacDonald generally seemed to control the striking action, making good use of the jab and landing kicks to the body at times, while Tibau certainly swung for the fences, but with a 6″ reach disadvantage he wasn’t finding the mark enough to even the score – or so we thought!
Meanwhile, MacDonald had some success grappling in the opening round, but to his credit Tibau did better preventing that as the bout went on.
Still, by the end of 15 minutes of fighting everyone from MacDonald to the fans and media watching were left stunned when Tibau was awarded a split decision victory.
“I’m very disappointed,” MacDonald said at the post-fight press conference. “I believe and everyone I talked to, and everyone online, scored the fight for me. Even three rounds to zero, so I think it was a clear robbery. I thought I was dominant in this fight. It was a hard fight. Gleison brought it, and respect to him, but I believe that I clearly won that fight and I think that this should be looked into.”
“We shouldn’t have to as fighters, as competitors (worry about the decision),” MacDonald continued. “We should be able to fight and rest easy that we have competent, fair, truthful judging in our sport. It shouldn’t be something that we have to worry about and stick our necks out on the line and our health to do something stupid. It’s just crazy. We don’t have this in any other major sporting even. It just seems like over and over and over again, we’re getting this in our sport and it’s just a real shame.”
Despite the controversy, PFL stated that the onus is on the fighter to register a complaint with the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, while making it clear that the promotion don’t have any control over who judges the fight.
Even though he lost the fight, MacDonald has still earned enough points this season to comfortably move on to the playoffs, while Tibau will not.
Check out all the PFL 5 results below.
PFL 5 Results
Gleison Tibau def. Rory MacDonald via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Ray Cooper III def. Nikolay Aleksakhin via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Emiliano Sordi vs. Dan Spohn ends in a draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Chris Camozzi def. Cezar Ferreira via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Vinny Magalhaes ends in No Contest (groin strike) at 2:45 of R1
Cory Hendricks def. Marthin Hamlet via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:09 of R3
Joao Zeferino def. Jason Ponet via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:16 of R2
Magomed Magomedkerimov def. Curtis Millender via submission (ezekiel choke) at 1:57 of R1
Tom Lawlor def. Jordan Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sadibou Sy def. Alexey Kunchenko via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)