After three days of a thorough review, ONE Championship’s Competition Committee has concluded that Seo Hee Ham’s split decision win over Denice Zamboanga during Empower will still stand.
South China Morning Post confirmed the development in an interview with ONE chairman and chief executive officer Chatri Sityodtong.
“It’s just one of these things,” Sityodtong said. “When I look at it objectively, I still believe Denice won, but I respect and can see how the judges scored it for Ham. It went to the committee, and I was obviously wrong relative to the committee.
“I do feel Denice was owed at least a fair due process instead of just leaving it hanging there, but at the same time, I think both Ham and Denice can be very proud of their performances.”
Sityodtong added that nine of the 14 members of the committee – composed of officials, former athletes, and judges – agreed with the decision.
The split decision last Friday drew the ire of fans, athletes, and pundits as they believed that Zamboanga clearly won the bout.
Last Saturday, Zamboanga sought a review of the bout and was granted by ONE on Sunday.
But all is not lost for Zamboanga (8-1). She will face Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1) in an alternate bout when the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix resumes.
“We did feel some of us that Denice deserves some sort of consolation prize for her performance, and the fact it was a super close fight,” said Sityodtong.
“I’m sure when she hears this news she’s going to be super disappointed, but the competition committee does its best to ensure fair play. We’ve had decisions been ruled no contests, but more often we’ve upheld decisions,” added Sityodtong, citing the Georgio Petrosyan-Phetmorakot bout that was ruled a no contest back in May of 2019.
Ham (24-8) will await a fan voting for her semis opponent in the GP. Also in the Final Four are Stamp (6-1), Itsuki Hirata (5-0), and Ritu Phogat (6-1).