Gil Melendez: We need judges who train


Benson Henderson retained his UFC lightweight title Saturday night with a split decision over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

There was no surprise at the spilt decision, but some eyebrows raised when word came out that Wade Vierra, the CSAC judge who decided for Melendez, runs an affiliate school of Team Cesar Gracie. Gracie is also Melendez' BJJ instructor of record. However, while some prominent MMA fighters, most notably the Diaz brothers, do their MMA training through Cesar, Melendez does not. Further, Cesar's association is so large that to the best of Melendez' recollection, he has never met Vierra.

In a recent appearance on MMAJunkie Radio, Melendez discussed the matter.

"I don't know the guy," said Melendez, adding "but it's good to know someone is training out there that's a judge. I don't know the dude. I don't know Wade Vierra. I don't. I can't say I haven't shook someone's hand or something. I've met a lot of people in my life. But do I know Wade Vierra? Is he in my phonebook? Do I see him or do I know him? No. I don't know who the guy is. I don't know him."

"I think it'd be a bigger deal if I won, but either way, I lost. Either I lost the split or the unanimous. It doesn't matter. I lost, dude. I lost. It doesn't really matter. Benson is still the champ."

"The positive thing is that if the guy is training, that's a good thing Yeah, you've got be selective about [any potential conflicts of interest], but some judges just don't know what's going on. I wish they'd get on the mat and train and really feel what it's like and do some boxing or some Muay Thai and visit some gyms."

"I really thought I won that fight. I felt I won the first two and the last. And honestly, the third, I thought it was pretty dang close and that I won that too.

"It was a close one. It was a battle. Benson Henderson is a stud. But I thought I was the more dominant fighter in there and taking more risks and making it a fight. I could go on and on about it, but it is what it is, I guess."

"Honestly, I felt like the biggest winner that night. I really did. I really feel like I made a statement. It was devastating to lose, but I feel like I arrived in the UFC. I got respect. A lot of people thought I was garbage, so there's a lot of positive things. I'm actually pretty high on life right now."

Read entire article...

Related MMA gear from the UG Store


Metal Mulisha Department Shirt

Metal Mulisha Department Shirt

$21.99 $13.19

Metal Mulisha Walking Dead Shirt

Metal Mulisha Walking Dead Shirt

$23.99 $14.39


tags: UFC   regulation   California   Gil Melendez   Wade Vierra   

Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

Immaculata site profile image  

4/25/13 3:13 PM by Immaculata

The conflict of interest comes into play because Mr. Vierra OWNS a School under Caesar. When a Caesar Gracie fighter wins it helps business. A Judge can't benifit Financially from a fighter winning. I'm not saying that there's a conspiracy here, or that the Judge had a biased score, but he should have recused himself for that reason solely. It's great that there are Judges like him that train, and I had Melendez winning 48-47 rnds 1, 2 & 5 (with 5 being the closest), but there is a conflict of interest there.

Mix6APlix site profile image  

4/25/13 3:13 PM by Mix6APlix


JStrongMMA site profile image  

4/25/13 3:07 PM by JStrongMMA

Yea, that's true. If Gil would have won and word got out that one of the judges was a CS affiliate, the UG would have been up in arms at what a travesty the decision was. There should be some accountability on the AC if this happens again. I was just pointing out that I had no problem with him giving the nod to Gil. He did score the rounds very oddly though.

RampageFitsLikeAGlove site profile image  

4/25/13 3:00 PM by RampageFitsLikeAGlove

Not only is the CSAC responsible, but I'd think Vierra should be responsible and recuse himself from the bout.  Even if he was completely unbiased, if would look bad on Gil if he would have won the split decision and this would have come out.

JStrongMMA site profile image  

4/25/13 2:53 PM by JStrongMMA

That's a fair point. If there was another judge on hand then it would have been wise to let him/her judge that fight if the CSAC was aware of the conflict of interest.

JStrongMMA site profile image  

4/25/13 2:50 PM by JStrongMMA

I completely understand the argument and I do think the fight could have gone either way. The issue I have is with how the rounds are scored. Octagon control is supposed to be a big part of how rounds are scored and I feel like Gil pressed forward and had octagon control for nearly the entire fight. I was actually suprised to see how much Ben outstruck Gil because it seemed a lot closer when I watched it. Idk..I would like to see a rematch to see a more definitive outcome. These close decisions are frustrating to watch.

mygodthisMMA site profile image  

4/25/13 2:24 PM by mygodthisMMA

Can you make a living judging MMA? I think as a MMA fan since the 90s it would be a noble thing to do. Looking for a new path and I'm not a fighter but want to be involved in the sport. Kurile, tell me what I've got to do to do this.

RampageFitsLikeAGlove site profile image  

4/25/13 2:18 PM by RampageFitsLikeAGlove

Well this guy that apparently Gil has never met has videos of him up on his website.  Would you want to fight against someone affiliated with the guy judging the fight? As I've stated before, there are more than 3 judges for each UFC card.  This Vierra guy did not judge Nate Diaz's fight on the same night, meaning there was at least one other judge who took this fight off.  Would have been very easy to juggle assignments for the night so this conflict of interest did not occur.

DoomFarmer site profile image  

4/25/13 1:55 PM by DoomFarmer

It would appear you are mistaken.

Internettufguy site profile image  

4/25/13 1:53 PM by Internettufguy

Serious question for you since you are a fighter. If you we're in a five round fight and you out struck your opponent in literally every round, with no real damage to either fighter, and grappling and control were basically a wash, would you think it was a poor decision if you lost the fight?