MANILA, Philippines -- ONE Championship has upheld Seo Hee Ham's victory over Filipina mixed martial arts fighter Denice Zamboanga, following a formal review.
Zamboanga lost to Ham in the quarterfinals of the ONE Atomweight Grand Prix in controversial fashion, absorbing a split decision to suffer the first defeat of her MMA career.
She requested a formal review a day after the bout, which ONE chairman Chatri Sityodtong granted.
Sityodtong told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that the result has been upheld after a review by ONE Championship's competition committee. The executive said nine of the 14 members of the committee agreed with the decision of the judges.
"When I look at it objectively, I still believe Denice won," said Sityodtong. "But I respect and can see how the judges scored it for Ham."
"It went to the committee, and I was obviously wrong relative to the committee," he added. "I do feel Denice was owed at least a fair due process instead of just leaving it hanging there, but at the same time, I think both Ham and Denice can be very proud of their performances."
An emotional Zamboanga said after the bout that she believed she won unanimously, after having controlled most of the match while shrugging off the strikes thrown by the South Korean veteran.
In a Facebook post, the Filipina standout doubled down on her stance, saying: "I outwrestled her, I outgrappled her, took her down, and beat on her. I made her miss and punished her with sharp counters all night… She really didn't do anything in there to win."
"It was a very close fight that could've gone either way," said Sityodtong. "We're always trying to strive for ensuring fair play… This one for me was less controversial, but Denice and her team were pounding the table for a review."
"We would rather not be involved, but we understand the rule of fair play," he added.
The winner of the Grand Prix will earn a shot against long-reigning champion Angela Lee. The competition is expected to conclude in December.