Photo by Al Bello via Getty Images
There weren't a ton of bad decisions on the judges scorecards this year, and certainly nothing as egregious as the first matchup between Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia, but the judges spent some time on the wrong side of the right decision in 2011.
Although looking at the entire sport of MMA would require a comprehensive analysis of every event card and score, this one focuses entirely on the seven biggest mistakes made in the premier league for MMA, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Let's begin, shall we?
Everybody who watched this fight live had the same thing to say about this decision. Riki Fukuda got "fuked". The scoring on this one was absurd, as the Japanese fighter clearly dominated the Canadian in every conceivable manner. Immediately following this match, each fight that went to the scorecards resulted in a Maniac quipping "Nick Ring by unanimous decision."
Fight Metric confirms the domination here, as Fukuda outstruck Ring 65-46, with 6 takedown on 9 attempts, earning a 30-27 score. Even if we hand Ring the first round, it's clearly Fukuda's fight 29-28.
This decision on Feb. 26 set the benchmark for bad judging in 2011.
2. UFC Live, Diego Sanchez vs Martin Kampmann 29-28 29-28 29-28
I actually added this one after I published the fanpost, mainly because I think the judges got this one right. But since it was definitely a controversial decision this year, I felt it was necessary to point out that Fight Metric thinks Kampmann got robbed (again).
Not only did Kampmann outstrike Sanchez with precision 79-51, he landed 26 more "significant" strikes than "The Dream". Having said that, Diego's rockem sockem style seems to have worked, since he rocked Kampmann twice in the second and third rounds, stealing the decision more from those moments than anything else.
If we learned anything from Paul Daley's fight, rushing in against Kampmann and mauling him seems to work, while staying on the outside and getting picked apart... well, you end up with a face like Diego Sanchez.
Edson Barboza won two robberies this year, while Anthony suffered what is arguably one, unless you include his recent loss to Danny Castillo. In this standup Muay Thai clinic, Njokuani outclassed the Muay Thai Brazilian Champion in every single round, making this fight at the very least a draw.
Once again, Fight Metric confirms the easy job the judges should have had, and it wasn't even close in any of the round. Although Barboza has very pretty strikes and is a great fighter to watch, he was dominated 78-48 in that department, getting hit more times in the head, body and legs, in a fight that only went to the ground twice.
Fight Metric calls the match a 29-29 draw, but the truth is that Njokuani deserves the win here.
4. TUF 13 Finale, Kyle Kingsbury vs Fabio Maldonado 29-28 29-28 29-28
Proving once again that takedowns and wrestling dominate damage in MMA scoring, Kyle Kingsbury somehow won a close decision over undefeated Brazilian boxer Fabio Maldonado at the Ultimate Fighter Season 13 Finale in Las Vegas June 4.
Maldonado battered Kingsbury on the feet, bloodying his face and closing one eye, making Kyle look like he'd been assaulted with a baseball bat. Fight Metric says this is an easy one to score, giving Maldonado two rounds to take the decision 29-28, while landing 122-110 in strikes. Discounting the fact Maldonado threw just one leg the whole fight to Kyle's 35, he more than doubled the liver shots while landing more head strikes as well.
The takedowns were where Kingsbury earned his win on the judge's scorecards, landing 5 of 14 attempts, though Maldonado scored 2 of 2, and the Brazilian swept Kingsbury at will even when it did go to the ground. Though Kingsbury took the victory, he was later exposed for a shoddy ground game in his next fight against Stephen Bonnar.
Barboza's second robbery of the year came against "The Real Deal" at UFC 134, a loss that although it earned fight of the night, sent Pearson down to Featherweight. Barboza's pretty kicks once again fooled the judges, awarding a 29-28 split decision to the Brazlian, despite the fact the striking clearly belonged to the British fighter.
Pearson outclassed Barboza 62-55 in strikes, including 60 "significant strikes", 47 of those to the ol' noggin'. Although Barboza landed more shots to the body, Pearson clearly took rounds 1 and 3 for a 29-28 decision. And since all five of Pearson's takedowns were stuffed, the judging should have been elementary.
Although few people cried foul when heavily favoured Hatsu Hioki won an uninspired decision over George Roop at UFC 137, the Fight Metric people showed it was a mistake. Roop outstruck Hioki 26-14 in the first round, getting taken down once for his efforts. He also eeked out a 30-29 second round, although he was taken down once again, making it a 19-19 score heading into the third.
In the third Roop took over, landing 34-15 in strikes and even scoring two takedowns to seal the apparent victory. Unfortunately, the judges didn't see it that way. Despite outlanding Hioki 90-58 and accomplishing the same number of takedowns, the judges handed the 2009 Sengoku Featherweight Grandprix Semifinalist the win.
We've all been through this one before, and for fairness sake, most people seem to disagree with me and Dana White that it was a 47-47 draw, and feel the judges got it right. But for the record, Fight Metric shows it was a clear draw.
And although it can be agreed that Dan Henderson dominated the first three rounds, at the end of the fight it was "Shogun" who had a 191-113 striking advantage, including 161 to the head and 96 "significant" strikes. Rua got mount six times, and easily won the fifth round 10-8, outstriking a dead tired Dan Henderson 26-0 in significant strikes.
Although Henderson walked away from that fight the hero, the Fight Metric crew had Shogun winning in cumulative striking and grappling 581-489, and awarding a 47-47 draw.
So, how about it Maniacs? What was the robbery of the year?
Michihiro Omigawa vs Darren Elkins
Miguel Torres vs Demitrious Johnson
(Phan vs Garcia 1 was December 2010, so it doesn't count)