Everyone’s favorite maverick judge, Cecil Peoples, supposedly explained the rationale behind his scoring of the Machida/Rua fight at UFC 104 in a talk with CageReport.net. He begins with the usual defense, pointing out that he has a different perspective on the fight than the fans do, and then launches into an explanation of why Machida’s strikes counted for more than Rua’s:
“Mauricio Rua was being aggressive but it wasn’t effective aggressiveness which is what we as the judges look for when scoring a fight. The way I saw it, Lyoto was landing the more cleaner and damaging strikes throughout the fight – if you take a look at the judging criteria clean strikes are valued more-so than the quantity of strikes landed. Although Rua threw a lot of low kicks they were not as damaging as Lyotos diverse attack in the earlier rounds which is why I scored the first three rounds for Machida. You have to keep in mind we always the favour the fighter who is trying to finish the fight, and leg kicks certainly don’t do that.”
Of course, sometimes leg kicks do end fights. It just doesn’t happen all that often. And even when leg kicks don’t serve as the knockout blow, they still damn well hurt and frequently end up making the difference in a fight.
But that doesn’t matter to Peoples. If you aren’t hitting someone in the face, you aren’t trying to end a fight. This is the same man who, later in the interview, says that he gave Machida the edge on Octagon control because he “made Shogun come after him, he determined where the fight took place which in my opinion constitutes as effective Octagon control.”
Let me get this straight:
– Strikes to any part of the body other than the face = useless in ending a fight.
– Forcing your opponent to bring the fight to you as you avoid engaging = Octagon control.
This decision is starting to make a lot more sense.