Just like most MMA fans and analysts, I was absolutely livid from the judges’ decision on Saturday in regard to the main event. It was nice to see most people agreeing that Johny Hendricks clearly won and put on a tremendous performance. He walked into the octagon confident and pretty much controlled the fight from the start. He left Georges St. Pierre rattled in the second round, along with winning both the first and fourth round.
The judges felt differently and decided to reward St. Pierre with the first round, which was the difference maker. It could be because St. Pierre had more significant strikes in the round by merely one strike (19 to Hendricks’ 18 strikes). Statistics are usually important, when trying to decide who won in a close fight. The key word in there was close fight, which it was not the case if you want to pick apart each round.
When it comes to judging a fight, damage will always be more significant than strikes. The delusional judges may not see that or their outdated rulebook, but it should be like that. The facial damage of a fighter should always be looked at as a barometer of who won the fight. The fighter who actually wobbled their opponent and threatened to finish the fight should be looked at more significantly. You can also look at ground control, which once again Hendricks had more of.
If you want to look at the first round, Hendricks opened up St. Pierre with elbows while defending his takedown.The argument of fighters being cut easier than others from strikes is bogus. That doesn’t matter because it still shows that the fighter is landing significant shots. They aren’t landing some quick jab that barley affected their opponent, these are effective strikes that are used to win a fight. I’m going to bring up examples of how this all correlates to how terrible that decision was and how it has to be the final straw for the Nevada State athletic commission under this structure.
Everyone remembers the fight between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. It was pretty controversial, due to Condit not landing many significant strikes and Diaz being more of the aggressor. The same can be said for Diaz, who stopped being the aggressor as the rounds went on. Both fighters weren’t really hurt from that fight. That should be the time, where you truly dissect the statistics and decide who was more of the efficient striker. You don’t do that in a fight, when Hendricks clearly landed harder strikes than St. Pierre and looked absolutely fine.
Another example could be from the second fight between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson. Edgar was clearly the aggressor and forced Henderson against the cage several times. He controlled the fight for the most part, while Henderson never really threatened to finish the fight. Why does the champion get rewarded a win, when he got picked apart in the stand up and didn’t look close in finishing the fight in 25 minutes? What did St. Pierre to convince you that he should be champion? Is it really because of a bunch of stats or was it because Hendricks didn’t do enough?
The whole concept of having to pretty much dominate your opponent or finish your opponent needs to be dropped, when it comes to title fights. Some fighters will say don’t leave to the judges, but does that mean these fighters can’t trust the judges to make the right call? That goes to show you that the sport still has lots of work to do, especially since this was such a major blunder on a huge stage. The casual fans that watch here or there will now be turned off. They were turned off by what had occurred in boxing, which is why you hear Dana White and other people constantly bring up how boxing was destroyed by terrible judging decisions.
Now you may ask, why haven’t I brought up Alexander Gustafsson versus Jon Jones? A decent amount of people thought Gustafsson managed to win, but we didn’t see an entire outcry of how terrible the decision was. Jones rocked Gustafsson in the fourth round and controlled the fight in the last round, while doing just enough in the second round. Could have it gone Gustafsson’s way? Sure it can, but he took serious damage and his face was pretty beaten up near the end. Jones landed a nasty elbow in the fourth round, along with some knees to the body in the fifth round. There was one point in that sequence, where Gustafsson was close to being finished. Jones proved to have landed significant damage to his opponent and rightfully deserved to win by a 48-47 decision.
We all know how poor the judging is and how the boxing system has proven to be an issue. I don’t think that its necessary to get into that issue any longer, when it’s been repeated over and over again. Instead the concept of finishing or dominating the champion to earn the victory needs to end. Obviously a title fight has bigger stakes than a regular fight, but it shouldn’t change the way that judges look a fight. At the end of the day, it’s the same exact thing except ten extra minutes.
Johny Hendricks absolutely deserves to be the champion right now and I’m sure 95 percent of the world agrees with that, who won the fight. The only people who don’t are either stat geeks who constantly obsesses over every little number or simply biased. We know that Georges St. Pierre is a great champion and should be allowed to take him off to take care of personal issues, but he shouldn’t hold up the division. He knows it, as well as his coaches know that the judges bailed him out. Eventually St. Pierre will have to fight again or vacate the title, if his head isn’t in the sport anymore. You can’t stall a division full of great contenders like Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit, Matt Brown, and others.
This was hopefully the last straw when it comes to judges, who have very little experience in MMA. We saw so many retired fighters at the event and it seems so fitting that some of them could be judges. Then their needs to be work done on the actual scoring of what actually matters. Even some of the rules inside the octogan could use some fixing. The rule of placing your hand on the mat, so you can avoid being kneed in the face while being pressed against the cage isn’t necessary. Just because you place your hand on the mat doesn’t make you a grounded opponent. Also how about Mario Yamaski stopping the fight last night, when St. Pierre lost his mouthguard when he was grounded. This was in the second round, where it seemed like he was in danger of being finished. I don’t understand how Yamaski can just stand them up just because of a lost mouthguard.
The UFC has evolved and has become a phenomenon all across the world. They still have work to do in avoiding all kinds of controversy involving the fight itself. We already know the issues with TRT and how it has become a sensitive topic. The judging will now become an even bigger topic. UFC 167 was an excellent show, but there will forever be a black cloud above the event. Johny Hendricks performance in the rounds that he won was far better than St. Pierre’s. If there is any knock on his performance, it would once again be his cardio. I felt that could be an issue, especially looking back on his fights against Josh Koscheck and Carlos Condit. In the last round, he seemed to be fatigued and couldn’t come up with the finishing blow.
That being said, this still goes down as one of the worst decisions of all time. The fight may have been close from a scoring aspect, but in the end we all know who truly won that fight. A few people said Hendricks didn’t do enough to be champion. I’d say that St. Pierre didn’t do enough to remain champion right back at that person. The championship advantage needs to end and championship fights should be judged just like preliminary fights. That would make judging more confined and they will reward the winners for being the best fighters like it’s supposed to be, not about doing just enough.