Pearson learns lesson in defeat

There is a common expression in the sport of mixed martial arts that is uttered each and every time there is a controversial decision.

“Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges.”

Ross Pearson learned why the expression has grown so popular on Saturday night when he dropped a split decision to lightweight Diego Sanchez on the Ultimate Fighting Championship card in Sanchez’s hometown of Albuquerque, N.M.

Pearson scored both the only takedown and only knockdown of the fight and outlanded Sanchez in all three rounds in both total strikes and significant strikes, according to Fight Metric. Pearson was awarded all three rounds by the objective scoring system.

He also won all three cards on one of the scorecards. One judge gave Sanchez two rounds. Another gave him all three.

“What can I say?” Pearson said. “I’m confident that I won every round. I didn’t get hit once. I guess it’s my fault for leaving it in the hands of the judges.”

He has appealed the ruling with the athletic commission in New Mexico, but no action is expected unless impropriety is discovered.

This case appears to be more about incompetence.

“That’s happened to me twice now,” he said, likely referring to a 2011 split decision loss to Edson Barboza in Rio de Janeiro. “I’m going to have to think only about myself from now on when it comes to what city that I fight in. It’s not worth my record and my career to let this happen again.”

■ JONES’ NEXT DEFENSE SET — Nearly two weeks of posturing and speculation were put to rest as UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones agreed to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 178 on Sept. 27.

The UFC had previously announced Gustafsson had agreed to fight Jones on Aug. 30 in Las Vegas but was waiting on Jones to agree to the fight.

UFC president Dana White originally stated Jones was negotiating a new contract, but in a later interview said Jones’ existing deal still had several fights remaining.

Jones made comments on social media that he preferred to fight Daniel Cormier instead of Gustafsson, whom Jones already defeated by decision in a closely contested bout that was voted the best of 2013.

When the dust settled, the UFC announced the Sept. 27 bout. The organization had indicated a Sept. 27 event would take place in Toronto, but the location for the Jones-Gustafsson fight was glaringly absent from this announcement.

Jones attributed much of the holdup to his desire to not fight until October or November. His brother is getting married in late July, and Jones wanted to ensure he had a full camp after that event.

Cormier, who remained undefeated with a win over Dan Henderson in May, is believed to favor waiting for the winner instead of taking a fight in the interim.

■ BELFORT RELEASES RESULTS — UFC veteran Vitor Belfort took much of the suspense out of his upcoming June 17 licensing hearing in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission by releasing his own test results from a surprise February test.

Belfort was not licensed by the NAC at the time, so the commission was not allowed to make the results public. The results will be discussed as part of his license application, however.

“In anticipation for my hearing before the NSAC, I want to address questions concerning a drug test I took back on Feb. 7, 2014 that was requested by the NSAC,” Belfort wrote on Instagram. “The results indicated that my testosterone level was above the therapeutic range.”

Belfort had been competing with a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy but had not applied for the exemption in Nevada. Shortly after that test was administered, the NAC banned all TUEs for TRT in combat sports, making it clear the decision was not based on any particular fighter.

Belfort, 37, is seeking a license to fight Chael Sonnen on July 5.

■ INVICTA ON FIGHT PASS — All-female professional MMA organization Invicta Fighting Championships reached a deal to have its events streamed on the UFC’s online platform Fight Pass, the organizations announced last week.

The deal includes past Invicta events, which will be added to the Fight Pass library.

Future events will air live in their entirety and then be archived.

Invicta has run seven shows but none since Dec. 7. The organization lost several of its top strawweights, who were signed by the UFC earlier this year to compete on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show.

The winner of the season will become the UFC’s first strawweight champion.

UFC officials made clear they have not purchased Invicta, only agreed to distribute their content.

The UFC will also help promote the events. The next will likely be scheduled for late summer.

Cris “Cyborg” Justino, thought to be the biggest threat to UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s dominance, is under contract with Invicta.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.