When it comes to the results of the lightweight title fight last month at ONE: Revolution, new champion Ok Rae Yoon doesn’t subscribe to the notion that his victory over division king Christian Lee was controversial.
Over five hard-fought rounds Yoon, 30, went toe-to-toe with the division’s best fighter in the headliner of ONE Championship’s Sept. 24 event. It was a competitive bout that could not be decided over 25 minutes and was left in the judge’s hands. In their opinion, the top contender from South Korea did enough to win on all three scorecards using the promotion’s criteria of scoring a fight in its entirety. As opposed to scoring round by round.
Ok Rae Yoon sees no controversy in ONE Championship title win
When cage announcer Dom Lau proclaimed there was a “new” lightweight champion, Lee was uncharacteristically upset, called the results “bull sh*t” and requested that ONE’s competition committee review the decision. ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong also described the results as “bad judging,” and the bout was viewed as controversial for some in and outside the organization.
However, Yoon (16-3) saw no controversy in the judge’s final decisions. He admits that he wasn’t even nervous when it came time for the scorecards to be read. In his mind, he felt he did everything necessary to get the W. The only concern for him at the end of the bout was an eye injury incurred in the first round that he claims affected how he fought throughout the fight.
“I defended all of Christian Lee’s takedown attempts and didn’t allow him to advance in position. I also didn’t allow him to do any ground-and-pound. I had way more clean strikes landed and had higher volume. I won that bout by unanimous decision for sure,” Yoon told MixedMartialArts.com. “I had a better fight from the third round on and successfully attacked more. So I thought I won the fight. … I was just more concerned about my eye right after the fight, not the result because I was confident with the result. I was just sad and frustrated that I couldn’t show a better performance because of the eye injury that happened in the first round.”
Yoon disputes Christian Lee’s claims for why he won
Lee and his camp, which includes his father and trainer Ken Lee, requested and received a review from the organization’s 14-person competition committee. Which is made up of former judges and fighters. In a post on his Instagram after the fight, the former champion explained that he should have been awarded the win based on the organization’s scoring guidelines. Especially, when factoring in ONE’s highest-scoring criteria of a “near finish.” Saying in the post, “I dropped him twice and had two submission attempts while my opponent had none.”
The new champion vehemently disagrees with Lee on his contention. Feeling in one instance he defended a submission attempt and took the momentum, and points, back immediately.
“I really don’t understand why he’s saying twice,” Yoon says. “He had a rear-naked choke attempt in the second round and knockdown in the third. It was once each. In the last round, I just lost my balance because I got hit during a flying knee attempt. I didn’t take any damage at all at that point. And a submission attempt is just an attempt! He didn’t get it done. Matter of fact, I defended that choke and countered him with a knee so I think the point should go to me.”
Last week, following the committee’s review of the fight, the final result was upheld and Yoon remains ONE Championship’s new lightweight king.
Yoon relishes his next chance to prove dominance to boss Chatri Sityodtong
Although he felt confident he won the bout, Yoon admits it was a close fight, and neither man dominated. He understands the point of view of those that might have seen things differently. Yet, he isn’t dwelling on the narrative that the biggest win of his career is tainted. For him, the only negative remnants from the fight are his belief that the eye injury forced him to fight more cautious than he wanted to.
“It wasn’t a dominant performance from either side. So I understand that people will have different opinions and views of this fight. But at the end of the day, all three judges gave the decision to me so all I will focus on is to show a dominant performance to Chatri and the fans on my next fight,” says Yoon.
“The whole fight went as [planned] but the eye injury that happened in the first round stopped me from being more aggressive because I couldn’t get my distance. I’m frustrated about that. … If I was able to dominate the fight and win without any controversy, I would’ve been happier. But I’m still happy because I’m the champion.”
Yoon was not a fan of his opponent’s attempts to have their bout results overturned. “The fight is already over and I’m the champion now,” he said when asked about the review. However, he is supportive of Lee asking for a rematch. And he is very much looking forward to the opportunity of quieting the people who question his win, including the former champion.
“I’m even more confident in the rematch and I’ll show everyone how dominant I am with my performance,” Yoon said.