Viktor Pesta began fighting professionally in 2010 in his native Czech Republic, and the 23-year-old heavyweight—who gained some renown for creating LetMeBeYourSparringPartner.com, a Web site in which he offers his pugilistic services in exchange for the opportunity to live and train with an American MMA team—has accumulated a 9-0 record. With his reported signing to the UFC, he's become the enormous engine that could--the unknown who gamed the system all the way to major leagues.
The thing is Pesta wasn’t always undefeated. In March 2013, he lost a unanimous decision to Yosef Ali Mohammad in Heroes Fighting Championship in Halmstad, Sweden. Pesta and his team approached the Swedish MMA Federation, the sport’s governing body in that country on the Scandinavian Peninsula, to formally object to the result. The gist of the complaint was that the judges had it exactly wrong, that Pesta’s takedowns and top control won the fight and made his victory clear-cut by a wide margin. They paid a 2,000 kronor (about $300 U.S.) “protest fee” and waited for the federation’s assessment committee to address the grievance.
As MMA fans, we’ve become accustomed to fighters appealing controversial losses and other injustices resulting from human error, and the entire process is rarely anything more than theatre. Overwhelmingly often, whether or not the complaints have merit, athletic commissions brush aside fighters’ grievances with all the indifference expected of an entity that requires a walk through the labyrinth of a government building to reach. While regulators’ commitment to athlete safety is unquestionable—and, in the case of the SMMAF and Gustafsson’s torpedoed rematch with Gegard Mousasi, maybe excessive—the same can’t be said of their commitment to adjudication. The most expedient way to right a wrong is to get a rematch instead of a hearing.
But this time, order was restored. The assessment committee agreed that Pesta’s takedowns, positioning, and ground and pound won the fight. “The winner of the match should be changed,” the committee’s outcome read. “Viktor Pesta should stand as the winner.” And with that, Pesta and his handlers became living proof that you can fight the system and win—as long as the system is willing to listen.
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