The Vietnam Mixed Martial Arts Federation (VMMAF) has disciplined three referees at the controversial Oliveira v. Ngoc Luong match last Saturday, and planned a rematch.
A Monday meeting by the VMMAF evaluated and dealt with violations regarding the LION Championship 2023 match between Brazilian fighter Robson De Oliveira and his Vietnamese opponent Tran Ngoc Luong at HCMC’s Rach Mieu Gymnasium, where Oliveira lost despite apparently dominating the game.
The VMMAF admitted to mistakes regarding the match’s results, where the three referees awarded the win to Ngoc Luong. They have apologized to the fighters, the affected clubs and the fans.
However, VMMAF said what happened were technical errors, not a result of corruption.
“The fault lies in the referees’ expertise and personal opinions when giving out scores,” a press release issued on Thursday said, adding that the fault especially belonged to the personal opinions made by the first and second referees.
The VMMAF said the first referee, Ngo Quoc Thang, and the second referee, Tran Trung Nghia, will no longer be involved in the LION Championship 2023. The third referee, Nguyen Dang Khoa, will be banned from the next three games.
A rematch between Oliveira and Ngoc Luong will be planned, it said.
Oliveira, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, performed multiple effective techniques completely overwhelming Luong during their match. 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.
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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