Coach Gilberto Bottiglieri was upset after his fighter Robson De Oliveira lost to Vietnamese opponent Tran Ngoc Luong despite dominating the match at an MMA event in HCMC.
“This is the worst cheating I have ever seen in an MMA match,” Bottiglieri said after the LION Championship match at Rach Mieu Gymnasium on Saturday night.
“The Vietnamese fighter was dominated in all three rounds. He couldn’t touch anything. He couldn’t do anything but then he won. The match wasn’t fair at all. I don’t understand what’s going on here. I swear this is the worst refereeing I’ve ever seen.”
Oliveira, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, performed multiple effective techniques completely overwhelming Luong. However, two out of three referees gave Luong the higher score, handing him the win.
After the result was announced, Oliveira was bewildered and his coach Bottiglieri laughed sarcastically. They left the match early and did not accept their reward. Bottiglieri said that this is the first but also the last time Oliveira would attend the LION Championship in Vietnam.
“Everything is strange,” Bottiglieri added. “We are extremely disappointed. I received a lot of calls asking what happened and why the referees did that.”
Oliveira was upset: “My opponent made an effort, but I think I did better. I defeated him, but somehow I lost. The opponent couldn’t even touch me. I didn’t get injured on my face. I didn’t get hurt, I was even able to take photos. My face is still looking good.”
Robson De Oliveira (R) fights Tran Ngoc Luong at the LION Championship in HCMC on April 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dong Huyen
Luong claimed he had a great match and Oliveira was really strong but could not finish him.
“That is my success,” Luong said. “Oliveira’s strength is grappling. When he pinned me to the floor, he has to find a way to finish me. But after three rounds, he couldn’t do anything.”
The Vietnam Mixed Martial Arts Federation (VMMAF) said the match “had signs of professional error” but did not change the result.
“The result cannot be changed once it was announced,” VMMAF general secretary Mai Thanh Ba told VnExpress on Monday.
“I have to admit, the refereeing was not right in this match. When the federation’s chairman Ngo Duc Quynh asked me, I said I would give Oliveira the win. But this is the referees’ decision and we have to respect it.
“The VMMAF will call up the referees to reevaluate their decision in this match soon.”
The LION Championship is the first professional MMA tournament in Vietnam, with nine weight classes.
The total prize money for last year’s first season was VND3 billion ($127,000).
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