Ahh yes, another rant about judging in mixed martial arts. Rather than belabor the point anymore, let’s just get to our most recent (and most significant) controversy.
On Friday night’s UFC on FX 2 card, fans across the world were treated to a delightful night of fights. We had knockouts, submissions, a great start to the UFC’s flyweight divisional tournament and an absolutely amazing main event.
So what happened?
UFC president Dana White dropped an absolute bomb (not his usual kind of the “f” word variety either!) in the post-fight press conference: the night’s flyweight matchup between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall, which saw Johnson take home a controversial split decision victory, was in fact a DRAW!
Here’s why this matters:
1) The fight decided who went to the finals of the UFC’s inaugural flyweight tournament.
2) White announced that, should one of the two flyweight fights be scored a draw after three rounds, we would see a fourth sudden victory round (didn’t happen, but should have!).
3) It brings up the point that maybe the people, not the system itself, are broken.
4) Now Joseph Benavidez, the night’s other flyweight winner, will have to wait for the Johnson vs. McCall rematch before fighting for the flyweight title. That is, now he has a long layoff to potentially get injured, out of shape, etc.
It isn’t fair to Johnson and McCall, the sport’s fans or Benavidez in my opinion. It isn’t the UFC or Dana White’s fault, it sits squarely on the judges shoulders, and I think we need to see some more accountability from them. We have heard nothing on their end, while we did have an apology from White. I get that he’s the figure-head of the UFC, but he’s not the one that needs to apologize.
For the great card it was, UFC on FX 2 left a bad taste in my mouth with this judging mishap, and that’s just a shame.
What do you guys think? What can we do about judging in MMA? It’s an area that seems to just be getting worse, so what would you do about it and what do you want to see in the future from MMA judges?