Chris Honeycutt to Appeal “Disappointing” Split Decision Loss to Costello van Steenis

Chris Honeycutt
Chris Honeycutt (left) intends to appeal his split decision loss to Costello van Steenis (right) from Bellator 210. PHOTO CREDIT: Bellator MMA

Bellator middleweight Chris Honeycutt is set to appeal his loss to Costello van Steenis from their Bellator 210 fight that occurred on Nov. 30. Honeycutt will meet with the Chickasaw Nation, the governing body which oversaw Bellator 210 in Thackerville, OK, on Feb. 6 to plead his case.

Honeycutt officially lost the fight to van Steenis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Don Turnage scored the fight for Honeycutt, while Jacob Montalvo and Dan Mathisen scored it for his opponent. Van Steenis won the third round on each card, while Honeycutt took the second round. However, Montalvo and Mathisen scored the first round for van Steenis, which gave him the nod. Honeycutt feels the first round was his most dominant and felt robbed.

“It’s disappointing. Even now, I’ve watched the fight a dozen types to jot down what happened when so when I’m at the hearing, I have a full breakdown of it,” Honeycutt told MMASucka. “I scratch my head, and I don’t know how the judges scored the way that it was scored.

“I actually felt Round 2 was closer than Round 1. When I got to the corner [after Round 1], the first thing I told my coach, ‘Crazy’ Bob Cook, was, ‘One down. I won that round.’ And then after the second round, I said, ‘I think I won that round. I’m very certain I won that round.’ So pretty much how I feel is disbelief on how two of the three can judge that against me.”

Honeycutt vs. van Steenis: Round 1

The fight can be viewed here for reference.

At around 4:15 remaining of the first round, Honeycutt drove van Steenis up against the cage and held him against it until converting a double-leg slam. Honeycutt then landed some ground and pound on van Steenis before he rolled out of it and got back to his feet with three minutes on the clock.

The two exchanged strikes for the next 1:20 with neither man landing anything too significant. With just over 1:40 remaining in the round, Honeycutt landed his second successful double-leg of the round. He then immediately transitioned into side control.

Van Steenis scrambled back up and pushed Honeycutt against the fence for about 15 seconds before he landed his own takedown. Honeycutt got to his feet before being pushed against the fence and taken down again. When he got up, van Steenis jumped on Honeycutt’s back and looked for a rear naked choke, which he was never close to securing. He was on Honeycutt’s back for almost 15 seconds.

Van Steenis then missed on a flying knee which allowed Honeycutt to secure one more double-leg with 20 seconds to go. He rode out the top position before the round came to an end.

Scoring

Round 1 was the round the judges dissented on, with two of them awarding a 10-9 to van Steenis.

Honeycutt personally scored the fight 29-28 for himself, admitting that he lost the third round when van Steenis dropped him with a head kick. That’s how most of the MMA community scored it.

After van Steenis dropped Honeycutt, Bellator color commentator Chael Sonnen thought van Steenis needed a finish to win the fight, as he had Honeycutt up 20-18 at that point. The four media members who scored the fight on MMADecisions.com (including myself) scored the fight 29-28 for Honeycutt.

Honeycutt added that he supposedly spoke to a couple of people from the California State Athletic Commission and a couple of other judges from the Chickasaw Nation, all of whom scored the fight in his favor.

Implications

Honeycutt said that according to his management, Bellator implied the loss wouldn’t hurt him in the middleweight title picture. However, he still took a massive financial hit, as he didn’t receive win money. Honeycutt has come to terms that he likely won’t be paid his win money, regardless of how his appeal shakes out, but is hopeful that the fight will be changed to a no-contest.

“There’s a massive financial loss there and it’s another ‘L’ on my record that should be a ‘W,'” Honeycutt said. “What I’m contesting is to get the ‘W,’ but at the very least, they can accept that there was a human error there and maybe I can get it pushed to a no-contest or maybe even a draw, but I doubt they’ll give it a draw.”

Honeycutt fell to 11-3 after the fight, with his other losses coming to Rafael Lovato Jr. and Paul Bradley. He holds wins over Leo Leite, Kevin Casey, Ben Reiter and Matt Secor.

He said that he’s not expecting the Chickasaw Nation to overturn the fight to a no-contest. Though he is hoping they at least acknowledge that there was a human error in the judging.

“This last fight, I can’t wrap my head around it,” he said. “And if you actually watch the fight and write down everything that happened and look at it objectively on paper, it’s like, how could you score it against me unless you’re biased against me?”

Honeycutt wanted to make it clear that he’s not bitter with the Chickasaw Nation; in fact, he respects them for allowing him to make his case with a hearing.

“They very well could’ve been like, ‘No, that’s not happening. We’re going to stick by our decision,’” he said. 

Honeycutt’s Next Step

Honeycutt said he intends to ask Bellator for a rematch with van Steenis. It doesn’t matter whether their fight gets overturned to a no-contest or not, but he added that he would be satisfied with taking any other fight. Whether it’s his next fight or further down the road, Honeycutt is convinced he and van Steenis will meet in the cage again someday.

“I would prefer the rematch, 100 percent,” he said. “He’s young. He’s only 26. I’m sure at some point in time, I’m going to run back into him. From the video footage I’ve watched of him throughout the years fighting and just from our preparations in fight camp, I can see that he is a fighter that is growing. When I fight him again, I’ll finish him.”

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