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After much debate, “Arale Chan” Seo Hee Ham is indeed heading into the semifinals of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
At ONE: EMPOWER last Friday, 3 September, Seo defeated Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga by split decision, but many fans thought the judges’ call was unfair and that the Filipina should have won the quarterfinal bout.
The sheer amount of support for Zamboanga nudged ONE Championship to have the match reviewed by its 14-person Competition Committee, but in the end, the decision remained the same.
“It’s just one of these things,” said ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“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.”
A fair due process was not all that Sityodtong awarded Zamboanga with, however.
Because of her solid performance at ONE: EMPOWER, she will now fight in a Grand Prix alternate bout against Julie Mezabarba, who defeated Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi on the same night as the controversial decision.
Whoever wins the alternate bout will act as a replacement should any of the remaining semifinalists pull out of the tournament.
“We did feel that Denice deserves some sort of consolation prize for her performance, and, the fact is, it was a super close fight,” Sityodtong added.
“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 ruled no contests, but, more often, we’ve upheld decisions.”
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