Controversial loss has Kattar camp speechless

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Jun. 23—How can you say that in a very, very close, split-decision, that one of the combatants was robbed?

Easy.

That was the exact word permeating from Austin, Texas after the UFC main event on ESPN.

Josh Emmett defeated Methuen native Calvin Kattar, via split decision — two judges had Emmett winning 3-2, and one judge had Kattar 3-2.

But there was another, more prevalent name being uttered when the judges' scorecards were made public.

Chris Lee.

As in, "What the hell was Chris Lee watching in the fourth round?"

It usually isn't good when judges/umpires/referees are the star of any game, match or show.

The controversy in reference to Lee was not due to the fact that Kattar lost, thus adding probably another year to his quest for a shot at the featherweight title (145 pounds). The fight, as Kattar's and especially Emmitt's face exhibited, was close.

It seems, though, that the majority of experts had Kattar, who seemed to be more in control, winning a tough bout.

But Lee having Emmett winning Round 4 changed that.

Not only does Kattar get an "L" for the bout, probably dropping behind Emmett in the rankings — he was fourth, probably will drop to fifth — and extending a potential journey to the top of the division, but he didn't get the win bonus of, believed to be, $100,000.

"We're talking about guys' lives, buying homes; that money is important," said Kattar's manager and trainer Tyson Chartier. "It's very frustrating. We get no feedback from the judges. What job doesn't have performance reviews? I realize you can't change it, but you should review the process.

"I am positive, like most people are, that Calvin won the fourth round ... handily," said Chartier. "It was Calvin's best round. If he scored that round, the way it was supposed to be scored, like the other judges, Calvin wins."

Chartier does not debate that the bout was close.

But the punch stats that measure the amount of hits, cleans hits and strong hits, had Kattar outperformed Emmett by a decent margin.

Kattar, according to UFC stats, landed 41 and 34 strikes in the fourth and the fifth round respectively. Emmett meanwhile recorded only 21 and 22 strikes in the last two rounds. Overall, Kattar outlanded Emmett by 130 strikes to 107 strikes.

Ironically, this is not the first controversy with Lee.

Two years ago, UFC president Dana White ripped Lee for two highly-scrutinized scorecards over a few weeks' time, both split decisions.

At UFC Vegas 16 Lee was the lone judge to score a light heavyweight bout between Roman Dolidze and John Allan in favor of Allan (29-28) while the other two judges scored it 30-27 and 29-28 in favor of Dolidze.

In another fight between Rafael dos Anjos and Paul Felder all 20 media paneled scored the bout in favor of dos Anjos, as did the other two judges. However, Lee found a way to score the bout 48-47 in favor of Felder.

White was asked about Lee after the latter bout: "I don't know how that guy could score that fight that way."

Interestingly, after the bout, Emmett was complaining about the judging, believing he won four of the five rounds "at best," and three of five, "at worst."

"When I heard it was a split decision," said Emmett, "I said, 'Here we go!'"

In the end, it's a setback for Kattar.

With a win, Kattar would've been in line for a potential title bout within a year, after one more fight maybe six months from now.

"All we can do is focus on getting back to gym," said Chartier. "People inside the sport know how good Calvin is and the draw he is. He will have to get in line and fight the next guy put in front of him. We are not happy, but in the end, that doesn't matter right now. We have to be ready for our next opportunity."

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.