The controversial result of a PFL fight last week has been overturned.
Renan Ferreira was initially awarded a first-round TKO victory over former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum last Thursday at PFL 3 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) overturned the bout to a no-decision Monday, Werdum's manager Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN on Monday.
During the finishing sequence, Werdum locked in a triangle choke with his legs from bottom position. Ferreira reached out with his right hand and tapped Werdum's shoulder twice, an action that was missed in real time by referee Keith Peterson. Seconds later, Ferreira was able to escape from Werdum's choke and land big punches leading to the TKO.
After watching the replay from different angles and consulting expert sources, including Peterson, NJSACB commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr. decided to overturn the result, a rare occurrence in MMA. Peterson told Hazzard, per a letter obtained by ESPN, that if he saw the tapping action by Ferreira in real time "he would have likely had stopped the contest" and given Werdum the win by submission.
Abdelaziz appealed the result of the bout as a representative for Werdum within one hour of the fight ending last Thursday night and provided NJSACB counsel Nick Lembo with replay footage. The NJSACB allows for on-site replay, but PFL opted not to use it this season because it will hold events in other jurisdictions in 2021 that do not allow for instant replay.
"I want to give credit to Nick Lembo and the New Jersey commission," Abdelaziz said. "He took the extra step to get it right for the athletes. This is why he's one of the best commissioners we've ever seen."
Ferreira received six points in the PFL heavyweight standings when the fight was recognized as a first-round TKO victory. But with Werdum vs. Ferreira now a no decision, both men will receive one point as if the bout was ruled a draw, per PFL officials.
Werdum (24-10-1) is regarded as one of the best heavyweight fighters in MMA history. The Brazil native held the UFC heavyweight belt in 2015 and 2016. Werdum, 43, left the UFC last year as a free agent and signed with PFL with hopes to win the league's 2021 $1 million heavyweight season.
Ferreira (6-2) had won four of five coming into the Werdum bout. The 31-year-old Brazil native is a veteran of LFA and was making his PFL debut.