Oscars’ best picture flub resonates with UFC’s Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson, right, kicks to the body of Rory MacDonald during a welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 89 in Ottawa, Ontario, on June 19, 2016.
(Fred Chartrand / Associated Press)

The hesitance in the announcer’s voice, the alarm of those who knew something was seriously amiss, the scramble to correct an error that had been uttered to a packed arena and millions more watching on television.

UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson watched a replay of Sunday’s Oscars broadcast and as the mix-up over the best picture winner transpired, Thompson immediately flashed back to his UFC 205 bout in November at Madison Square Garden against welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

“I was thinking, ‘That’s what happened to us,’ ’’ Thompson told the Los Angeles Times and USA Today in a Monday telephone interview.


Ring announcer Bruce Buffer proclaimed Woodley the victor.

“It happened so fast. When they announced him to be the winner, I’m thinking in my head, ‘Wait a second. I know I did better than that. I probably had the second, third and fifth rounds,’ ” Thompson said. “As soon as I turned around, I had [UFC President] Dana White there to look at me and say, ‘Hang on.’ ”

Someone else in the octagon informed the fighters that Buffer’s information was incorrect, and Woodley protested, striking a protective pose of the belt he was defending for the first time, acting as if it were in danger of being taken away.

White informed Thompson, “Hey, it’s a draw. It’s a draw.”

Buffer had to reannounce that two of the three judges scored the fight a draw, meaning Woodley would retain the belt by majority.

“It was kind of like the Oscars, but they didn’t wait for five, 10 minutes with us, and then come back and say it’s a draw,” Thompson said. “There was really no time to think about what was really going on … [and it was] even worse for Tyron, thinking he had won, and then coming back and it was a draw.”

Woodley and Thompson’s rematch comes Saturday night in the pay-per-view UFC 209 main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

South Carolina’s Thompson said he plans a convincing victory this time by relying more on his reach and increasing his activity.

He doesn’t want the match in the judge’s hands, or to leave any uncertainty to the announcer.

If polished actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway can slip, first awarding the best picture Oscar to “La La Land” before “Moonlight” properly took the night’s biggest prize, then anyone can.

Thompson wasn’t in position to debate which film was better, describing himself as an action and sci-fi movie buff who hadn’t seen either Academy Awards nominee.

“I wasn’t watching [the Oscars] live. I had to go back after hearing all the media stuff. People were talking about it,” Thompson said.

“It was pretty rough, man. They waited until they were halfway through [the ‘La La Land’] speech until they did something about it. I was like, ‘Dadgum.’

“For them to be at such a high-level, professional thing, how can they make such a misread?”