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Rory MacDonald wants an investigation into his controversial loss to Gleison Tibau at 2021 PFL 5.

MacDonald (22-7-1) appeared to have painlessly cruising to a decision victory over Tibau (36-15) on Thursday at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., but then the judges’ result was announced. It was a split decision against the former Bellator champion and UFC contender, and he was left shocked.

After taking a few minutes to digest, MacDonald said he can’t fathom how it didn’t go his way, and he thinks some further research is needed into how the bout was scored.

“I’m very disappointed,” MacDonald told reporters at the 2021 PFL 5 post-fight press conference. “I believe and everyone I talked to, and everyone online, scored the fight for me. Even three rounds to zero, so I think it was a clear robbery. I thought I was dominant in this fight. It was a hard fight. Gleison brought it, and respect to him, but I believe that I clearly won that fight and I think that this should be looked into.”

In response to MacDonald’s comments, PFL president Ray Sefo said it’s on the fighter to file a complaint with the New Jersey State Athletic Control board, and PFL doesn’t control the judging.


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MacDonald said he was convinced when the 15 minutes elapsed that he was going to have his hand raised, but somehow two of the people scoring the fight didn’t see it that way.

“I was totally sure,” MacDonald said. “I was so surprised when the first judge, they announced and scored it for him. I was shocked. But when I heard the split decision that he got it, I was blown away. What do you say? I just didn’t see it that way at all.”

MacDonald used the opportunity to be on the receiving end of this type of loss to express his thoughts on MMA judging. He said bad decisions on commonplace, and it’s a burden on the fighters to have to worry about losing half their paycheck when they’re simply trying to compete on their best.

“We shouldn’t have to as fighters, as competitors (worry about the decision),” MacDonald said. “We should be able to fight and rest easy that we have competent, fair, truthful judging in our sport. It shouldn’t be something that we have to worry about and stick our necks out on the line and our health to do something stupid. It’s just crazy. We don’t have this in any other major sporting even. It just seems like over and over and over again, we’re getting this in our sport and it’s just a real shame.”


Twitter reacts to Rory MacDonald’s stunning loss to Gleison Tibau at 2021 PFL 5