K-1 WGP Final Supervisor: The judges followed pre-tournament instructions to the letter!
The story surrounding the judges' unanimous decision to declare Mirko Filipović the winner of the quarterfinal bout of the K-1 Grand Prix Final in Zagreb after three rounds against American Jarrell Miller still piques the interest of the martial arts public.
Some fans argue that Cro Cop didn't deserve to win with 3:0, but in an interview with Fight Site one of the judges for that fight, Mladen Kranjčec, clarified why they brought such a decision and justified it.
"At the arbiters' briefing, and later with the fighters and coaches, the K-1 rules had been clearly explained, emphasizing that there can be no grappling of an opponent with two arms in a clinch and no more than one knee kick. Miller disobeyed this rule and grabbed Mirko in a two-arm clinch the whole time, which was not allowed. In those moments, Mirko was unable to develop his fight, as he would be prevented by Miller's grappling. You saw that Miller threw his legs about without any concept just to meet the K-1 form, so as it wouldn't turn out that he was only boxing, and then he'd immediately grab Mirko into a clinch, which was not allowed.
"The ring referee should have given him a caution and then a warning. It was precisely due to the referee's passiveness that this fight raised the most doubts among spectators because their opinions were divided with respect to Mirko's win. The judges, me included, saw what Miller was doing and decided in Mirko's favor with good reason," Kranjčec said in the interview with Fight Site.
The martial arts website Liverkick reacted by publishing a comment to this interview, maintaining its criticism of the decision to declare Cro Cop the winner. "In combat sports it is the referee's job to enforce the rules… It is not a judge's job to interpret the rules for themselves and to discount significant action because they believe it to not be legal," the author of the Liverkick article stated, among other things.
In order to get an explanation for this rather complicated situation, we have contacted the K-1 World Grand Prix Supervisor, Igor Jushko, who took a little of his time on Easter evening to give his comment.
"The author of the Liverkick article is looking at it from his own angle and perhaps he has partially misinterpreted the statement by judge Kranjčec. Judges have the right to arbitrate according to what they see, and the Liverkick journalist attempts to deny them this right in some way and holds that the quantity and quality of strikes is the only thing that should matter. However, that's just one of the views on the actual situation."
"The job of a judge is not to correct the referee, but judges do have the obligation to adhere to the instructions received before the start of the tournament, when briefing with fighters is held, and in this case they did so, in accordance with the rules," Supervisor Jushko said for Fight Site.