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Tag: MMA judging

UFC on Fox 9: The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly


(Uh…guys? I’m pretty sure that’s Herb Dean. / Screencap via r/MMA)

By Mark Dorsey

Before we get into the endless promotion for the year-ending and stacked UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2, let’s take one last, clear-eyed look at what went down at WEC UFC on Fox 9. The injury-cursed event seemed destined to be a disappointment to many fans who consider the lighter fighters boring, especially considering it was the lightest fight card in UFC history, with an average weight of just over 145 pounds. The fact that the fights were taking place at the Sleep Train Arena seemed like a bad omen, foretelling the coma-inducing boredom that might have resulted from a night of decisions. Nevertheless, despite the haters, the smaller guys provided a card of highly entertaining fights and they showcased why many MMA purists consider them the most exciting fighters in the sport.

The Good
• Too often, referees only get noticed when they screw up. However, the officials for this card should be praised for a solid night of work in which they did their jobs properly and kept the focus where it belongs: the fighters. Props to John McCarthy, Herb Dean, and Mike Beltran for getting through the 11-fight card with no critical errors. Even Dana White, who has been openly critical of MMA officiating in the past, praised both Big John and Herb Dean, saying, “These are the best guys” and complimented his one-time nemesis, McCarthy, saying, “When John is in that Octagon, he is in absolute and total control.”

• Much has been written lately about the success of Team Alpha Male under head trainer, Daune “Bang” Ludwig. Saturday night gave the camp an opportunity to showcase how deserving they were of that praise, with four fighters from the Sacramento-based crew competing. As a whole, the team didn’t perform flawlessly, but they did manage to win two of their four fights. It was a great night for Urijah Faber, as the hometown hero steamrolled Michael McDonald and established himself — again — as the top contender in the Bantamweight division. Chad Mendes also did what he needed to, beating Nik Lentz by unanimous decision. On the losing side, Danny Castillo dropped a close decision to Edson Barboza that many thought should have been a draw, and Joseph Benavidez got knocked out cold by Demetrious Johnson. Other than Benavidez, Team Alpha looked good, and judging from their backstage reaction to Urijah Faber’s win, they truly are a tightknit group that will continue their upward trajectory.

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St-Pierre vs. Hendricks: The Most Important Bad Decision In UFC History


(Ladies and gentlemen, your “winner.” / Photo via Esther Lin, MMAFighting)

By Adam Martin

There have been many terrible decisions handed out by MMA judges over the years, but none of them had the same consequences as the decision read by UFC ring announcer Bruce Buffer following the main event of UFC 167 this past weekend.

After five rounds of back-and-forth action, Johny Hendricks and Georges St-Pierre headed to the scorecards to hear the official outcome of their fight, which should have been in the bag for the challenger. Watching the fight live, I scored it 48-47 for Hendricks, giving him rounds one, two and four, and St-Pierre rounds three and five, all rounds scored 10-9. My friend and fellow journalist James Lynch, whose judgment I trust and who I watched the event with, tallied the same score on his card. So did all 15 media members who had their scores counted by the great database MMADecisions.com. So did most fans and observers of the sport on Twitter and in the arena. So did UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. And so did UFC president Dana White.

Despite this, two Nevada State Athletic Commission judges inexplicitly scored the fight for St-Pierre by scores of 48-47, and the champion got to keep his belt. He then announced to the audience at MGM Grand Garden Arena that he wanted to take some time off after defending his belt for the third time in the past 12 months.

Hendricks, on the other hand, got screwed.

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[EXCLUSIVE] Cole Miller Reflects on Strange Fight With Manny Gamburyan at ‘Fight Night 26′


(Photo via Getty Images.)

By Elias Cepeda

Cole Miller was confused. Near the end of the first round of his UFC Fight Night 26 featherweight fight against Manny Gamburyan this past Saturday, “The Anvil” was working for a double leg takedown against the cage on Miller when Cole defended and hit him with two elbows before the horn.

The elbows were ruled legal and they hurt Gamburyan. Bad.

So much so that the former title challenger slumped down to his knees in an apparent daze and could not immediately stand up and walk to his own corner. In fact, he was on his knees in Miller’s corner.

“I didn’t really get it,” Cole told CagePotato on Sunday. “I looked at [referee ] Yves Lavigne, he was looking at Manny. I was unsure if the fight was over or if time had expired. I was looking for the ref to give us an idea of whether there was finality in the fight, or if it was an illegal blow. Later, Yves told me was a legal blow and so does the video. But at the time, if it was illegal I was looking for him to say so, take a point, give me a warning, call the fight or something. It was a confusing situation. Yves told me to go to my corner but I told him, ‘I am in my corner.’ The way Manny was there on the ground in my corner, I couldn’t raise my hands, walk away and go to my corner or anything. They actually moved me and my corner to another area while he stayed there on the ground. Yves was pointing to a direction for me to go. I was thinking, ‘I’m in my corner. Someone needs to take him to his corner.’ Over a minute and twenty passed before they had the doctor even look at him.”

The break between rounds for fighters is a minute long. If a fighter cannot answer the start of the next round, they lose, normally. Examples of this have been seen throughout MMA, kickboxing and boxing history.

If you’re so beat up that you can’t answer the next round’s bell, you’re done. You’ve lost.

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Gallery: Seven Images/Gifs That Accurately Sum Up UFC 163

1. Vinny Magalhaes Unknowingly Shows Anthony Perosh the Key to Victory

(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.)

2. MMA Judging: It’s a Crapshoot, Really

3. That Awkward Moment When You Get Punched so Hard You Turn Into JB Smoove.

(Photo via Getty)

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Man, Isn’t Boxing Corrupt? Anyway, The Judge Who Scored UFC on FOX 7 Main Event for Melendez Runs a Cesar Gracie Affiliate School


(Vierra is standing third from the right in the black gi, next to Cesar Gracie. / Photo via MixedMartialArts.com)

Following the conclusion of UFC on FOX 7 on Saturday, many die-hard fight fans switched their dials to Showtime to watch the WBA light-middleweight title fight between rising boxing star Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Austin Trout. Though Trout arguably won a majority of the early rounds, the fight’s “open-scoring” system revealed that the judges were in the bag for Alvarez from the beginning. When the match was over, the scores came back unanimously for the 22-year-old ginger: 115-112, 116-111 and a completely batshit 118-109 from judge Stanley Christodoulou. As usual, we MMA types used the opportunity to take potshots at boxing’s endemic corruption.

Alright, so get a load of this shit: Late Saturday night, Ben Henderson’s brother pointed out that Wade Vierra — the dissenting judge in Henderson’s split-decision win over Gilbert Melendez — is a “Master Instructor” for the GracieFighter network, and runs a Cesar Gracie affiliate school in Roseville, California. Considering that Melendez is a well-known Cesar Gracie product, the conflict-of-interest alarms should have been ringing for the California State Athletic Commission, and Vierra shouldn’t have been allowed to judge the fight. But the CSAC didn’t catch it, or didn’t care, or hey, maybe they were in on it. Either way, Bendo’s special night was put in jeopardy.

When judging controversies happen in MMA, fans usually chalk it up to ignorance rather than corruption. But when ignorance from MMA judges and commissions is allowed to exist indefinitely, that is corruption — it’s a corruption of the sport’s legitimacy, even if nobody’s directly profiting from it. Obviously, the UFC lightweight title fight was so close that Vierra’s 48-47 tally for Melendez was much more defensible than Christodoulou’s 118-109 for Canelo. Still, the incident gave the UFC event an appearance of commission malfeasance that reflects very poorly on the promotion and the sport in general. (Was somebody paid off to allow Vierra a spot on the judges’ table? Or is the CSAC just that inept?)

It’s a good thing Henderson won. Otherwise, we might have had a scandal on our hands.

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The Association Of Boxing Commissions Makes some Big Changes to MMA Judging Criteria


“THE ABC IS CHANGING….oh…the MMA judging…No, no, that’s cool too…”

As some of you may know, I am working towards my master’s degree when I’m not writing for Cage Potato and currently preparing to defend my thesis. Because of this, I have been dragged into more semantics arguments than a person should ever admit to. I’ve had to defend every little “a” that could have been a “the” with Griffinesque tenacity - and I haven’t even defended the damn thing yet. Anyone who has ever attended graduate school can sympathize.

So when The Association Of Boxing Commissions (ABC) announced their newest revisions to the MMA Judging criteria at their annual conference, I read the document with skepticism. The fact that one of the new revisions removed the word “damage” from the scoring criteria partially so that opponents of MMA sanctioning can no longer point to the rulebook and say “LOOK, DAMAGING YOUR OPPONENT IS A RULE!” didn’t exactly help matters. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that some of the rule changes are actually pretty damn important.

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Quote of the Day: Joe Rogan Thinks Shitty Judges Should Be Fired


(We’re on your side, Joe, but blowing up Cecil Peoples’ house might have been taking it a little far.) 

It may be old news at this point, but the UFC’s recent trip to Florida, though rife with entertaining fights and exciting finishes, was basically a clusterfuck of refereeing and judging incompetence. MMAFighting’s Mike Chiappetta wrote a very thorough article detailing all of the things that went wrong that night, but here’s the basic run down for those of you who don’t like to have all of those pesky words get in the way of your reading:

-The Henry Martinez vs. Bernardo Magalhaes fight was originally scored a UD win for Martiniez, but was later changed to a split decision when the scorecards were looked over again.

-The Mike Pierce/Carlos Eduardo Rocha fight ran into the opposite problem. It was originally scored a SD for Pierce, a notion that was responsible for more blown minds than the ending of Saw. It took the judges some four days to realize that it was actually scored a unanimous decision for Pierce.

-Lance Benoist was able to illegally strike Seth Baczynski twice without being deducted a point.

-For some reason, the referee in the Jared Papazian/Dustin Pague fight told Papazian to “keep his feet off the cage” whilst he was attempting to push off and escape Pague’s submission.

-Tim Means, on the other hand, nearly beat Justin Salas to death before the ref decided to step in.

Aside from all of this, the commission also managed to drop the ball twice at the pre-fight weigh-ins, incorrectly announcing the weights of both Means and Benoist before realizing their errors. But we’d specifically like to focus on the staggering inadequacy of the judges. Because judging, unlike any other occupation, is seemingly non-performance based. Time after time we’ve seen the same familiar faces make royal asses of themselves on the job, always to find the same job waiting for them come Monday morning.

But thankfully, MMA’s patron saint of subjectivity, Joe Rogan, is here to lay it on the line for these inept jackasses who seem to be actively trying to ruin the sport.

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Body Shots Don’t Win Fights: Fabio Maldonado Outstrikes Igor Pokrajac 166-64, Still Loses


(Brazilian boy can’t get no love? / Props: enlapelea.com)

Fabio Maldonado should have learned his lesson in his fight against Kyle Kingsbury last June — if the judges refuse to count body punches as “effective damage,” you might as well just start head-hunting and grunting and hope for the best. Once again, the Brazilian light-heavyweight put on a body-shot clinic in his bout against Igor Pokrajac at last night’s UFC event, and once again he wound up with a unanimous decision loss, with one judge inexplicably handing all three rounds to the Croatian. Many observers called this one a robbery, and you can understand why if you look a little closer at the striking totals. According to FightMetric

- Round 1: Maldonado out-landed Pokrajac 36-6 in significant strikes, 47-16 overall.

- Round 2: Maldonado out-landed Pokrajac 26-13 in significant strikes, 60-18 overall.

- Round 3: Maldonado out-landed Pokrajac 36-17 in significant strikes, 59-30 overall.

- Overall: Maldonado’s success-rate for significant strikes was 72% (98 of 137), compared to 45% for Pokrajac (36 of 80). The final overall striking total was 166-64 in Maldonado’s favor.

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CagePotato Roundtable #2: What Was the Greatest Robbery in MMA History?

CagePotato Roundtable is our new recurring column in which the CP writing staff and some of our friends all get together to debate an MMA-related topic. Joining us this week is former CagePotato staff writer Chad Dundas, who now writes for an up-and-coming blog called ESPN. If you have a suggestion for a future Roundtable column, send it to tips@cagepotato.com.

CagePotato reader Alexander W. writes: “The Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall fight inspired my suggestion: Greatest robberies in MMA history. I’d be curious to hear the variety of opinions out there. Surely that fight was a top ten.”

Chad Dundas

There are a lot of things about Pride Total Elimination 2003 that don’t make sense when viewed with modern MMA sensibilities. How to even comprehend a world where a skinny, haired-up, suit jacket-wearing Dana White could bet Pride bigwigs $250,000 that Chuck Liddell was going to win that company’s 2003 middleweight grand prix? Or comprehend that a bizarrely dangerous and clearly-enunciating Liddell showed up in the first round of said tournament and KTFOed an impossibly svelte Alistair Overeem? Or that Overeem had an old dude in a robe and shriners hat accompany him to the ring while carrying a big foam hammer? Or that on this night somebody got tapped out with a sleeve choke? Or that Wanderlei Silva fought Kazushi Sakuraba and it didn’t just make everybody feel sad and empty?

No sense at all.

What does still sort of make sense is this: After watching Liddell sleep Overeem, there was no way on God’s green Earth that Pride judges were going to let another UFC emissary walk out of Saitama Super Arena with a win*, so they conspired to pull off one of the greatest screwjobs in MMA history when they awarded Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a unanimous decision over Ricco Rodriguez. The indisputable fact is, Ricco whipped Big Nog good that night, taking him down, brutalizing him, shaking off his feeble submission attempts and controlling pretty much the whole affair. At least, that’s how I remember it. Unfortunately, due to Zuffa’s ongoing war on Internet piracy it seems their bout will only be remembered by history and by the creepy old man who answers the queries you submit to the Sherdog Fight Finder.

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UFC 144 Aftermath Part I: Playing to the Crowd

If you’re only going to do one thing, make sure you do it well. (Photo: Getty Images/UFC.com)

It would be an understatement to call the UFC’s return to Japan triumphant. We could point to the bevy of exciting finishes as proof enough, but last night’s action seemed to go beyond that. More important to the evening’s success was the way the competitors fought. Surrounded by fans that appreciate the “bushido spirit” above all else, the fighters let it all hang out and battled their way through adversity. The Japanese prefer an entertaining performance over a cautious victory, and from the opening bout to the final bell of the evening, they got their money’s worth.

The final four combatants weren’t able to match the undercard’s highlight-reel stoppages, but the fighters knew the stakes and, to the best of their abilities, showed up to wow the fans.

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