Aspen Ladd’s request to have a technical knockout overturned on the basis of gender discrimination was denied, ESPN reported Tuesday.
The fight in question occurred July 13 between Ladd and Germaine da Randamie. It was called by referee Herb Dean after just 16 seconds.
Ladd’s manager, Dave Hirschbein, argued during a hearing that Dean stopped the fight too quickly due to a “subconscious gender bias,” in that the fight was between two women. He alleged that Ladd potentially lost millions of dollars with the result because she could have earned a title shot if she won.
Ladd, 24, said this isn’t the first instance in which she has felt gender bias in play.
"I've had people question my chin more so than a male teammate, for example," Ladd said. "It's common for people to believe that we function at a lesser degree than the males in the sport."
CSAC chairperson John Carvelli asked Dean if he stopped the fight when he did because Ladd is a woman. Dean – unsurprisingly – said no, and offered an explanation as to why he called it.
“At that point, I don't believe that she is aware of where her opponent is," Dean said. "At that point, I don't see her doing any of the things that I would call intelligent defense."
As part of the hearing, SAC commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez showed slides from other UFC fights officiated by the 17-year veteran ref. Those slides referenced fights between male fighters that he allowed to continue on after one competitor did heavy damage to the other. Shen-Urquidez sided with Ladd, saying she believed the fight violated anti-discrimination laws.
"That is not OK, even if it's not intentional," Shen-Urquidez said. "... She might have lost anyway, but you give her the chance to lose on her own. That's why she's a fighter."
The final 3-2 CSAC vote to uphold the original call fell along gender lines. Carvelli and male commissioners Luis Ayala and Vernon Williams voted to uphold Dean's initial ruling. Shen-Urquidez and female vice chairperson Mary Lehman voted against it.
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