Ringside announcer Joe Rogan thought so, voicing his disappointment during the pay-per-view (PPV) telecast and following it up on his Twitter.com page in all caps:
"Alan Belcher got fucking ROBBED."
"The Talent" and "Sexyama" went toe-to-toe for three fulls in their middleweight showdown at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, last night (July 11, 2009). It was an exciting back-and-forth battle with both fighters exchanging several hard shots.
Belcher found a home for his thundering kicks on Akiyama's lead leg, the culmination of which slowed the Japanese import (with Korean roots) and had him wincing in pain. The Louisiana native scored a knockdown in the first round and managed to sting Akiyama with enough strikes throughout the fight to eventually force his left eye shut (an inadvertent eye poke could have helped).
On the other hand, despite sustaining punishment, Akiyama dished out some of his own abuse that clearly hurt Belcher. Akiyama -- who dropped Belcher in the third round -- also mixed things up more, hitting takedowns and throws and doing some solid ground and pound work.
He was clearly tired. And so, too, was Belcher. Both fighters left everything inside the cage and were rewarded handsomely for it with $100,000 bonuses for putting on the "Fight of the Night" during the promotion's landmark event.
Not too shabby. But was Belcher really "robbed?"
That's an exaggeration. Cases could be made for both fighters. It was super close heading into that final frame and that round was essentially the difference maker in the eyes of at least two of the three judges. Here are the official scores:
Adalaide Byrd: 30-27 Akiyama
Douglas Crosby: 29-28 Belcher
Patricia Morse Jarman: 29-28 Akiyama
It's a bit surprising that Byrd didn't see this as close as her counterparts and the rest of the universe watching from around the globe. But that's just the nature of the beast -- decisions in mixed martial arts are often the targets of spirited debate.
Company president Dana White perhaps summed it up best, saying "I wasn't 100 percent sure of the decision, you know what I mean, but I think it was a tough fight to score, too."
The good news is Belcher won't slide back too much because it was so close and Akiyama -- who the promotion would surely like to see make a run at the 185-pound division title sooner rather than later -- got great experience and exposure in his debut for the promotion.
That extra $100,000 also hopefully helps assuage any thoughts of robbery ... especially for Mr. Belcher. How about for you, Maniacs?