Was the wrong decision made at UFC 123?
At the conclusion of the main event bout at UFC 123 between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida, I sat wondering how could two judges get this decision so wrong? I thought clearly Machida won the first and third rounds and Rampage took the second round.
The last time I felt a fight was so wrongfully decided, was the Machida-Rua 1 bout at UFC 104.
At the end of a close bout, most fighters believe they should get the edge. But, clearly Rampage knew he had lost this fight. Every ounce of his body language expressed those feelings at the end of the fight. He sat against the cage, like a whipped fighter with his head down. So it was to his dismay that ring announcer Bruce Buffer would call his name at the end as the winner. His first words to analyst Joe Rogan were, “He bloody my nose, I consider that a [expletive] whipping,” said Jackson.
He later changed his opinion when his corner men “yes men” told him he had won the bout. And later UFC president Dana White chimed in declaring Rampage the winner.Now I know judges are human just like you and I. And the mere definition of the word judge means implies that an opinion will be given.
Here are my thoughts on why the decision was made in Rampage’s favor.
It starts with Steven Seagal. That’s right, the action movie star Steven Seagal, who is a 7th-dan black belt in aikido. The 58-year-old actor worked with Machida for the fight with Rampage. If you look at the techniques on youtube he taught Machida. And you hear Rampage at the UFC 123 post-fight press conference; you could see that Machida was doing some moves in the cage that could be misconstrued as boring. Jackson said, “Even though he [Machida] was elusive and everything but it really made for an exciting fight I think. I remember trying to punch him and he was already on this side over here [pointing to his side]. I was thinking like man you know what I’m saying, it’s weird; I think his style, I got more respect for his style … I won’t want to watch though.”
I think as a fighter, Rampage realized that what Machida was doing was such a beautiful art form of fighting. Being elusive and not taking punishment can be mistaking as boring. But it’s the opposite of what Dana White would want for a UFC fight. He pays bonuses for toe-to-toe fighting. Taking punches in the face and afflicting as much damage to your opponent as possible. The “Fight of the Night” consists of very little defense and all out punching with your opponent.
My point: If you look at the first round, Machida had octagon control and effective aggressiveness as defined by the scoring rules.
1. The fighter who is dictating the pace, place and position of the fight.
2. A striker who fends off a grappler's takedown attempt to remain standing and effectively strike is octagon control.
3. A grappler who can take down an effective standing striker to ground fight is octagon control.
4. The fighter on the ground who creates submission, mount or clean striking opportunities.
1. This simply means who is moving forward and finding success.
2. Throwing a strike moving backwards is not as effective as a strike thrown moving forward. (Neither)
3. Throwing strikes and not landing is not effective aggressiveness.
4. Moving forward and getting struck is not effective aggressiveness.
5. Shooting takedowns and getting countered and fended off is not effective aggressiveness.
What are your thoughts?