Fighter Earns Controversial Decision From Facebook Friend Judge at UFC 247

Trevin Giles and James Krause

Getty James Krause and Trevin Giles in their Middleweight bout during UFC 247.

One of the biggest controversies coming out of February 8’s UFC 247 was the judging of Joe Soliz. Many analysts and fans questioned his scoring of some bouts, and in particular, the points he awarded for the main event, Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes, and the featured preliminary bout, Trevin Giles vs. James Krause.

Soliz scored the main event 49-46 for Jones, which sparked frustration from notable MMA figures like Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz. The judge also took heat for scoring the first round between Giles and Krause as 10-9 in favor of Giles. Krause controlled most of the round as he had back control and attempted multiple submissions, and many spectators believed Krause did enough to secure the round. After the third round ended, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards, and Giles won the contest by split decision.

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It’s Been Reported That Soliz Had a Relationship With Giles’ Camp & the Two Are Facebook Friends

TSN has reported that Soliz had a personal relationship with Giles’ head coach, Eric Williams. TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter discovered the potential conflict of interest. And as pointed out by Bronsteter, Trevin Giles and Joe Soliz are friends on Facebook as well.

According to the report, TSN reached out to Soliz, and they discovered that he has a connection with the gym Giles trains at, Elite MMA. Giles trains under Eric Williams, who was one of his coaches at UFC 247. Soliz started training at Elite MMA (formerly known as Elite Martial Arts) in the 1990s, and he earned a black belt under Williams. He also worked as a Jeet Kune Do and Progressive Fighting Systems instructor for the gym in the early 2000s.

Soliz told TSN, “Under Eric Williams of Elite MMA, I received my black belt in 2008. I left Elite in 2010, and received my first-, second-, and third-degree under Octavio Couto.” He also told TSN that he hadn’t been in contact or had any association with Elite MMA in 8 years.

According to the report, Soliz declined to answer why he scored the first round for Giles, saying that he isn’t allowed to make any statements about the matches that he judges.

In Texas, where UFC 247 took place, the Texas Combative Sports Program is in charge of supplying the officials as well as ensuring that there isn’t a conflict of interest with officials and athletes.

The UFC, Dana White and Texas Combative Sports Program have yet to comment on the situation and alleged conflict of interest. Giles has yet to respond about his relationship with Soliz and their background as Facebook friends.

After Learning About Soliz’s Past Relationship, James Krause Took to Social Media to Share His Frustrations

If Soliz scored the first round for Krause, and the rest of the scores remained the same, Krause would have walked away with the split-decision win.

James Krause learned about the prior relationship Soliz had with Williams and Giles. He then took to social media to post a lengthy statement about his feelings on the situation:

James Krause stated, “If this isn’t the most frustrating s**t for me in the world I don’t know what… how is this not a conflict of interest? Training at someone’s gym for 10+ years and receiving a black belt from the coach [cornering] my opponent.”

He then went on to express his confusion with not winning the first round even though he controlled Giles for most of it and almost sank in a rear-naked choke. Krause called upon the UFC, president Dana White and state commissions to keep judges accountable and to alter the judging to be more geared toward MMA. Lastly, Krause reminded those reading his post that he lost half of his “purse because of this guy.”

Jason House, Krause’s manager, told TSN that they plan on appealing the decision.

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