Leading referees Marc Goddard and Leon Roberts are amongst a group of referees and judges who are boycotting Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB). The officials have ruled themselves out of participating in any future ACB events after two results were overturned by the promotion.
In a statement issued to Fighters Only, the officials stated, ” Since ACB’s decision to overturn the results in their Vienna ACB 52 event between Patrick Kincl vs Arbi Agujev and Joao Luis Nogueira vs Shamil Nikaev, the listed officials will be stepping down from working the planned ACB 54 event in Manchester on March 11th.
” Without any sign of judge corruption or incompetence, as a group of officials we feel it is a hugely dangerous and unprecedented step to change a unanimously agreed decision after the event. Also, in the main event, referee Neil Hall called a stop to the contest declaring Patrick Kincl the winner via TKO. Mr Hall made his assessment that Agujev was no longer intelligently defending himself in mount, and stopped the bout in the interest of fighter safety. This result was also later overturned to a no contest by the promotion.
” In the interest of supporting the Unified Rules of MMA and respecting the performing athletes, all the British staff listed above feel that officiating positions within the ACB organisation have become untenable.”
The ACB released their own statement, it states, ” The result of the Shamil Nikaev – Joao Luiz Nogueira fight changed to No Contest. On Friday the ACB office received reports from the independent judicial experts from Russia and Europe. 12 of the 12 judges awarded their points in favour of Nikaev. They are the experts from Russia Viktor Korneev, Maria Makhmutova, Ahmed Baysultanov, Magomed Magomedov, Yuri Batman, the Polish judge Pawel Harasim and many others. As a result, the promotion has changed the decision of judges who served the ACB 52 tournament in Vienna. Beginning from the next ACB tournaments the judge panel will be radically revised.”
Kincl has spoken out against his victory being overturned to Czech media but ACB promoter Mairbek Khasiev responded via Russia’s MatchTV, ” Patrick Kincl has an opinion, but my decision is my decision. And it is due to the fact the fight was stopped too early. I questioned many prominent judges and all agreed that I was taking the right decision. As for the Nogueira fight, all whom I consulted in one voice said that it should be a victory for Nikaev.”