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Poor, Misguided Donald Cerrone Actually Believes He Lost WEC 43 Fight

(Yep, that’s the whole televised portion of the event. Henderson/Cerrone fight starts at around the 81:00 mark.)

While the judges’ decision in Saturday night’s WEC 43 main event between Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson may have seemed like an absolute travesty to some, the one guy who isn’t complaining is, shockingly enough, the "Cowboy" himself.  After losing three of the five rounds on all three judges’ scorecards, Cerrone acknowledged that there might be some who gave him the nod, but insisted that Henderson “definitely won the fight.”  Wow.  Did not see that coming.  Said Cerrone:

"I’m obviously disappointed in myself.  I didn’t go out there and show what I had the first couple of rounds.  I asked my coach, ‘What round are we in?’ He said, ‘Fourth.’ I said, ‘Oh, [expletive], I better get going.’ …The guillotine, I felt him gargling one time.  But that son of a bitch just kept holding on.  Then one time I felt like he was knocked out on top of me. I was looking at the ref like, ‘What?’ But [Henderson] just kept coming around." 

Fair enough, Donald.  But allow me to tell you why you, and the judges, are wrong:

Henderson was most effective with takedowns and ground-and-pound, but never did he really come close to ending the fight.  All of the nearly fight-ending moments came from you, Donald.  Many of them were while you were on your back, and that may not look great to the judges, but they put Henderson on the defensive nonetheless. 

Obviously a submission attempt shouldn’t score points just for being attempted, but neither should a takedown if the guy doesn’t follow up with anything afterwards.  When Henderson is locked up in a triangle choke or armbar and he’s trying to escape, that means he’s not mounting any offense of his own.  Similar to a guy who’s been taken down and is laying there trying not to be punched or elbowed, as long as he’s constantly defending he is not scoring.

Personally, I had that one even heading into the fifth, and I’d love to meet the person who wants to argue that Henderson won that last round.  His takedowns became less and less effective as the fight wore on, and it was Cerrone who stayed on the offensive with effective aggression and attempts at ending the fight.  Sorry, Donald.  You may disagree with me, but the fact is that you got screwed.

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rpn452- October 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm
I thought the first round was a draw, and so did FightMetric. I know they never give draw rounds though, so at the end I wasn't going to complain no matter who they gave it to.

I'm pretty late here with my comment because the event wasn't broadcast in Canada until last night. I've got four more pages of CP before I'm caught up.
LoneWolf- October 14, 2009 at 7:27 am
Yep Cerrone got totally screwed.
k- October 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm
You're questioning the wrong round. Cerrone won 5. And 4. But 1? I gave Henderson round 1 when I watched it live, although at the time, I was aware it was close and depended on what you judge on. Mir obviously favors submission attempts, and why wouldn't he? And sure submission attempts score points while escaping and staying out of them doesn't (or shouldn't), but while Cerrone had what looked like a few tight submissions, the majority of round 1 saw Henderson damaging Cerrone. So damage, or submission attempts that we have no idea of how close they actually are to ending the fight? I go with damage every time.
Dr Garbo- October 12, 2009 at 4:56 pm
You couldnt pay me enough to judge that fight....Im usually not one to agree with bad judging...But it was damn close...I havent left my house for 2 days because im scared that I might run into one of those guys...I keep having a recurring nightmare of Benson taking me down while Cerrone up kicks my face off of my face
budsellers- October 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm
i just rewatched the main event and i know it's a dumb kid cliche, but it has to be said...

close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades.

during the first 1:45 of that fight, cowboy had the excellent guillotine submission attempt which he expertly transitioned into a triangle submission attempt, but it was not nearly tight enough(mir saw it immediately). after that, cerrone was on his back with hardly a strike attempt or any other offense at all. it was all defense and in fact, that super tight guillotine attempt was also a defensive move.

(has anyone else noticed that tall men in the lightweight division have been having problems with finishing opponents by arm and leg chokes? are their limbs too long?)

cowboy came out with a lot more striking during round 2, much more than round 1, but he was on his back for most of it(defense). i remember during round 2 of the tv broadcast that i honestly thought henderson was winning the fight, but that cerrone looked like he was going to figure out a way finish the fight.

cerrone was still on his back a lot during in round 3, but he did finally get to spend more than 15-20 seconds on his feet.

round 4 was cowboy's best chance to win the fight and he still had plenty of gas to fuel his best offensive round, but smooth was too slick. maybe he was greased?

round 5 was probably a draw. both fighters landed a few strikes that offset each other's striking and neither was able to use their strength(wrestling/submissions) to dominate the other.

if i was asked to judge who was winning the fight at the end, i would have to say it was a draw, but judging a round by round mma bout with the 10 point must system, henderson was the clear winner. i would have scored it 49-47 with the final round 10-10.

i think it bears mentioning that the judges in san antonio were very bad, but that doesn't change the outcome of this particular fight.
just some dong- October 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm
Well said Jarekov. Any of those fists from Ben from the top position could have ended the fight. Ceronne took some of those hard. I'm as impressed with his chin as I am with "Houdini" Henderson's escapes.

Badguy- October 12, 2009 at 12:35 pm
Even Cerrone says Ben won. Maybe he is being the good sport, but if he really thought he won you would have seen it right after the fight he would have been pretty pissed off and dissapointed.

You didnt see that what you did see was a guy who thought he lost.
Jarekov The Great- October 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm
Hitting a guys head into the ground when your standing over him is a pretty good way to stop a fight.
Sneaky Pete- October 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm
I agree with most of you that this could have gone either way. But finishing is the key, so I have to agree with Ben that Henderson never really came close to ending the fight. Do all the calculus you want, that's a pretty important metric.

I think the only real loser in this though is Varner. Now he's going to get beat by Henderson and then Cerrone.

Regardless of the decision, I think this is a good candidate for fight of the year.
Badguy- October 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm

I'll give based like this

1 point for a solid strike
1 pont for a series of strikes (3 of them) like jabs and just bothersome strikes from the ground like rabbit punches ect.
3 points for a heavy strike one that clearly lands and does major damage.
5 points for a knock down/one were the fighter is clearly rocked and in trouble

1 point sub attmept one that you lock up but may not get in 100% but you got a clear advantage
3 points for a sub that is in tight and has the other fighter in trouble
3 point for getting the back of another fighter, you have clearly demonstrated a dominant position were a fight can be eneded.
1 point for passing to 1/2 guard
1 point more for getting side mount or (2 points)
1 point more for full mount or (3 points)
2 points for controlling the down fighter for a period of more then 1 min and 1 point for each additional 30 secs
1 point for the down fighter for getting a ref standup by stopping the top fighters offense.
1 point for a reversal
1 point for a takedown
2 point for a takedown by slam

looks like alot but it is pretty basic. does have some subjectivity but you will always have that unless a ref is calling off the points.

so at the end of the rd who ever has the highest point total is 10-9 win a round by more then 12 pts and almost end the fight with major damage and it is 10-8
reddog- October 12, 2009 at 11:59 am
Having watched the fight three times, I agree with most of the commenters. Cerrone lost. Ben, you're wrong. What your article should be titled is "if I made the scoring system, cerrone got screwed."
As others stated, which of the four categories for scoring did cerrone win the first three rounds? Striking? No. Grappling? Hard to win that from your back. Its grappling in general, not jits sub attempts. Aggression and octagon control? Again, hard to win that from your back. Your argument could be against how fights are scored. But making up your own criteria for a fight doesn't fit well.
WUWU- October 12, 2009 at 11:37 am
we need to get away from this wishy washy "he looked like he was in control" bs system. Just break out the abacus and start tallying this shit.

point for a takedown
point for transitioning to dominate position
point for submission attempt
point(s) for landing more clean strikes, standing and ground
point for a knockdown

just some dong- October 12, 2009 at 11:32 am
In the WEC, judges are expected to score bouts based on effective striking, grappling, aggression, and cage control. Keep that in mind and watch the first three rounds again. Ben clearly had the edge in all four departments. He scored takedowns at will, he kept Ceronne on his back for the bulk of each round, and he pounded him relentlessly with blows to the body and head from the top position. By the current scoring system, Don lost fair and square. You don't have to like it, but there’s no case to be made to the contrary.
budsellers- October 12, 2009 at 11:28 am
we have years of evidence in the form of matt hughes, and countless other wrestlers, who have won and retained titles in less exciting fashion than henderson won that interim title belt on saturday night. i am not saying it is good for the fans or mma, but it is what it is.

get off the cowboy's nutsack, he already has a lady!!
xFenixKnightx- October 12, 2009 at 11:03 am
Cerrone won 1, 4 and 5. That is fucking all. At least it was Henderson getting the dec. win instead of Varner. My head would explode.
Jarekov The Great- October 12, 2009 at 10:57 am
Going for a submission is like trying to hit a homerun, if you miss you end up with a flyball and an out, and then your team looks at you because your 38 and that bat doesnt have the same zing. then you get home and your wife looks at you because your 38 and you dont have that same zing.

should flyballs be a baseball stat, like OMG he almost hit it out. well he didnt and he could have just pulled a line drive for a single ( ground and pound ).
Clayton- October 12, 2009 at 10:47 am
Henderson clearly won those first 3 rounds. Failed sub attempts aside, Cerrone did next to nothing. Cerrone could get 4,and definitely gets 5, but he lost this fight.
LowelltheHammer- October 12, 2009 at 10:32 am
A lot of people seem to be judging this fight in Cerrone's favor because he had the momentum towards the end of the fight, but THIS ISN'T JAPAN. Scoring isn't based on the whole fight, it's round by round.

And explain to me how Cerrone wins Round 1 for having a tight guillotine (triangle wasn't locked in, it was more of a holding position) and attempting submissions for about a minute and a half (4:50 to 3:20ish) while the rest of the round was Ben beating Cerrone up on the ground. Cerrone had taken more damage coming out of that round than Ben, thus the round goes to Henderson 10-9.
Jarekov The Great- October 12, 2009 at 10:22 am
"Obviously a submission attempt shouldn’t score points just for being attempted, but neither should a takedown if the guy doesn’t follow up with anything afterwards. When Henderson is locked up in a triangle choke or armbar and he’s trying to escape, that means he’s not mounting any offense of his own. Similar to a guy who’s been taken down and is laying there trying not to be punched or elbowed, as long as he’s constantly defending he is not scoring."

if a submission fails what happens? you gas yourself and usually the other guy can take a dominant position. A takedown almost never ends with the guy on bottom not being hit at least once or twice, And in this fight henderson was hitting him alot so this is bs.
Jarekov The Great- October 12, 2009 at 10:20 am
I agree with sheps, you cant let failed submission attempts score big points as a judge, because its not that impressive. Especially when your throwing them off your back.

Henderson dominated this fight and even when he wasnt as punishing with the ground and pound in the last rounds he still dominated with his better wrestling. If you took away cerrones submission attempts and watched the fight it would be Ben standing over him raining leather for 20 minutes. Show the guy some love.
Badguy- October 12, 2009 at 10:18 am
Miscreant -

using that same analogy for 2 rds plus the majority of the 1st Cerrone was in the same position. Ben controlled and decided where and how the fight took place, he also did much more damage.

Like I said, this fight probably in my eyes was a draw.

If from the time Cerrone had his 1st rd subs in to the end of the rd was a little closer, it would be Crrones fight.

If you can score a 10-10 rd that is what rd 1 was to me
2-3 Ben
4 and 5 Cerrone.

If rd 1 has to be scored a 1-9 or lower does any know the answer on this?
Then I dont know If I can give the rd to Cerrone. It is tough to do this when a guy loses 3 minutes of the rd handily and takes quite a bit of damage. Ben got Cerrones back a number of times and in grappling thats points. Man this is a tough one.
But no way clear cut that is just crazy.

I will have to rewatch this tonight.
provrorsbarn- October 12, 2009 at 10:10 am
I scored while watching this fight 3-2 to henderson...grabbing the first three and the last 2 to cerrone....I think henderson stole the first round the last minute and a half...
Homoplata- October 12, 2009 at 9:59 am
threatening with subs isn't worth shit, i don't agreee w/ it, but it's true.

if you didn't see this score coming, don't reproduce.

awful read
caffn8d- October 12, 2009 at 9:53 am
It was an awesome fight either way. Clearly Cerrone had a lot of respect for Henderson's toughness (as do I now) and felt like he should have put it away and done more, but couldn't. So he gives the nod to his opponent. Cool as hell coming from the Cowboy.

I don't think anyone can debate the Cerrone came much closer to finishing the fight than Henderson did. Is that enough to win the fight though? Ring control I'd give to Henderson (take downs and fighting from where he wanted to be). Then it comes down to damage, and they both beat each other up... so tough call.

My hat is off to both guys. Just an excellent 5 round fight.
Sheps- October 12, 2009 at 9:51 am
Wow your fucking retarded.

Benson clearly won the fight, he dominated it from start to finish. You just lost any credibility you had CP.