Dana White apologizes for removing judge in Macau

Kevin Iole
The UFC released a statement Tuesday admitting president Dana White breached protocol by having a judge removed from a fight card Saturday in Macau. (Getty)

The UFC released a statement Tuesday in which it conceded that president Dana White had no authority to order judge Howard Hughes to be yanked from his assignments at a fight card on Saturday at Cotai Arena at The Venetian in Macau.

An admittedly angry White pulled Hughes after Hughes scored the first two fights of the night. 

That would not have occurred in a jurisdicition with a regulatory body, but because there is no commission in China, the UFC self regulates. But Marc Ratner, the UFC's vice president of regulatory affairs and the man who normally handles such duties for the UFC, did not attend the show. He was at the card in Tulsa, Okla., later Saturday.

The UFC's full statement, which it posted on UFC.com:

After an internal review, the UFC organization announced today that a breach of its independent regulatory protocol occurred on Saturday night during UFC FIGHT NIGHT MACAO.

After the second fight of the night, UFC President Dana White requested that Howard Hughes, one of the event's five assigned judges, be removed from working any further bouts. Pursuant to UFC's protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night.

The UFC organization has always been in support of government regulation and oversight. Additionally, the UFC has established a protocol when required to self-regulate events due to the lack of an official athletic commission, federation or other regulatory body.  In those instances where UFC holds events in locations without a regulatory body, the UFC's protocol dictates that the organization's internal regulators will handle all commission functions independently and without interference by company executives or employees.

The UFC remains committed to maintaining the strictest regulatory environment for competition and vows that no similar breach of protocol will happen again.

Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.

Promoters can't be allowed to have influence over the judges and referees during a card, and the UFC correctly recognized this. 

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