Ex-UFC champion Fabricio Werdum's KO loss to Renan Ferreira overturned to no contest

  • Tom Ward
Fabricio Werdum

Fabricio Werdum’s controversial KO loss to Renan Ferreira has been overturned to a no contest, Professional Fighters League officials confirmed to GIVEMESPORT on Monday.

‘Problema’ Ferreira (6-2, 1 NC) caused Werdum (24-9-1, 1 NC) all sorts of problems at PFL 3 on Thursday night, knocking out the former UFC heavyweight champion at 2:32 of the first round at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But now the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) has reversed the 31-year-old’s win, after it was discovered that Ferreira had tapped twice to a Werdum submission before referee Keith Peterson called a stop to the contest.

The state athletic commission, per PFL officials, decided to change the result after watching a replay of the tap from different angles. As a result, both fighters will earn one point in the PFL heavyweight tournament. The result of the fight has also been formally revised to a no contest as well. 

Werdum said afterwards that he didn’t think that the fight was fairly stopped and would appeal the loss. 

NJSACB commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr. took charge of the independent panel, which heard evidence from Peterson, who told Hazzard that if he had seen Ferreira’s tap in real time, “he would have likely had stopped the contest”, according to a letter obtained by ESPN.

This rare occurrence in MMA comes almost exactly two weeks after former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez’s disqualification loss to Iuri Lapicus at ONE on TNT 1 was also changed to a no decision after the fight ended in similarly controversial fashion.  

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Werdum is widely considered to be one of the best heavyweights in the world. The appeal presents a new chapter of sorts for the 43-year-old, who lost his UFC heavyweight title following a first-round knockout loss to Stipe Miocic.

Since the loss, Werdum is 4-3 (1 NC), including back-to-back victories over Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura in the UFC. It was his first appearance since July 2020 after parting ways with the promotion. 

Werdum’s manager Ali Abdelaziz expressed his delight with the ‘no contest’ decision, and singled out referee Peterson for praise after he submitted evidence to the tribunal. 

“All credit to Keith Peterson, when he saw the video, he mentioned to Nick Lembo, ‘He tapped,'” Abdelaziz said to MMA Junkie. “I believe this is one of the best commissions in the country, and not because he ruled my way.

“I’m just grateful for Nick Lembo and the New Jersey commission for making history, and now I’d like to see every other commission, if they make a wrong decision, know it’s OK to correct it.

“This is why Keith Peterson is, in my opinion, one of the best referees in the world,” he added. “He does not have an ego.

“This is one of the most proud moments of my career. It’s not like I did a good job, I just wasn’t going to lay off it until justice was served.

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