125-pounders meet again June 8; city TBA
The two flyweights will meet again June 8 on UFC on FX 3 in a city still to be determined to finally get some closure on their first fight, which took place earlier this month in Sydney, Australia, at UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann. The 125-pounders met in the semifinals of the UFC‘s four-man tournament to determine its first flyweight champion. The UFC announced the date for the rematch on Tuesday.
After a close fight, Johnson was announced as the split decision winner. But at the post-fight news conference, UFC president Dana White revealed that a mistake was made in the score tallying by the commissioner in Sydney and the fight was actually a draw. The UFC had created a provision for such an occurrence, and a fourth sudden-victory round was supposed to take place. But it didn’t happen when Johnson was declared the winner.
Now the two will face each other one more time to determine who will face Joseph Benavidez for the UFC’s first flyweight title, a bout that now likely will happen in late 2012 instead of this summer. Benavidez beat Yasuhiro Urushitani in Sydney right after the Johnson-McCall fight, but now must wait to learn whom his opponent will be.
The Johnson-McCall rematch will take place June 8, but the city and venue for the fight are still to be determined. The event will be the UFC’s third card on FX, but UFC on FX 3’s host city will be determined by the fan voting in an ongoing contest with major UFC sponsor Harley-Davidson. The Harley-Davidson Hometown Throwdown is scheduled to take fan votes through April 24. Of the 10 regions set up in the contest, the Pacific region, which includes Johnson’s home state of Washington and McCall’s home state of California, currently leads the voting.
In Sydney, the score on judge Sal D’Amato’s scorecard was tallied incorrectly – he scored a 10-8 third round for McCall, making his card 28-28 for a draw. The other two judges were split, with one siding with Johnson 29-28, but the other scoring the fight 29-28 for McCall.
“It was a bit of an unfortunate situation,” commissioner Craig Waller said after the fight. “I take full responsibility. I misread the scorecards. The fight should’ve been a majority draw. I sincerely apologize to both fighters, to Dana, to every single fan of the UFC. All I can do is apologize and I’m very, very sorry. Sal didn’t make the error – it was my error.”
White clearly was disappointed in what had transpired.
“Human error happens,” White said. “The commission has taken responsibility. The first-ever 125-pound title, and it’s clogged up again. Controversy seems to be stuck to us like glue these days, (but) I’m definitely not going to lose any hair over it. I said, ‘You’ve gotta be f***ing sh***ing me’ (when I found out). That is my exact quote.”
McCall, who along with most of the fans in Sydney seemed to think he won the fight, said he felt a little vindicated after hearing the news in Sydney that he didn’t actually lose the fight.
“Things happen. Shoot, we get to fight again. You guys had a good time, right? We’ll put on another show,” McCall said. “I’m happy because I was vindicated. Cool man, whenever I get to fight again. I like him. We had fun beating each other up. We can do this again, make more money – I’m all in.”
Johnson and McCall won Fight of the Night honors for the bout. Benavidez said he’ll be excited to see who finally comes out on top.
“Initially, I thought it was a draw,” Benavidez said. “I’m excited to see that fight again. It was awesome. It was a great fight, and it was awesome they get to do it again. I think it was a draw. It was a great, close fight. I’m just excited to fight whoever comes out on top of that one. I just want to fight whoever wins because they’re the deserving contender.”