Just as puzzled as Nick Diaz (R) was with Carlos Condit (L) in the UFC 143 main event, thinking the wrong man won the interim welterweight title? Jason Probst suggests you roll back the tape and watch it again because the judges got it right. Photo by Esther Lin via SBnation.com.
After Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ring announcer announcer Bruce Buffer belted out the final result of the UFC 143 main event fight between Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit, the Twitterverse -- much like everywhere else -- was starkly divided by both fans and mixed martial arts (MMA) insiders on who indeed deserved to win the controversial decision.
And this wasn't just biased folks from the 209 area code who claimed Diaz was robbed, but respected MMA types whose opinions carry credibility among anyone vaguely familiar with the sport.
"That decision was an absolute joke," Tweeted former UFC champion and legendary trainer Pat Miletich. "At best, Condit won two rounds."
And noted trainer Duke Roufus poured it on even thicker, sharing his strong feelings via Twitter.
"I am done teaching guys to fight! Gonna teach them to run like bitch & hold guys down like a bitch it wins! How do u like that fight fans?"
We live in a fast-moving world, especially where anyone and everyone's input can be shared in the real time. But I wonder if anyone would be criticizing a stand up artist who avoided takedowns, or a wrestler that planted a dangerous striker on the mat and carefully worked and controlled his way to a decision.
Condit did "Fighting 101," which is implementing your strengths, while minimizing those of an opponent who is hellbent on rearranging your face. Sometimes, in the case of a Cain Velasquez, or Alistair Overeem defeating Brock Lesnar, that translates into an exciting bout. In other cases, you get a Matt Lindland highlight reel (of his wins, not his losses, which were usually far more compelling).
But, winning is winning.
Much of the resentment stemmed from the fact that almost everyone was sure this was going to be a rollicking, bloody bout. And we didn't get it. But, just because Condit refused to stand there and let Diaz punch him in the face endlessly doesn't mean Diaz gets some sort of Groupon with the judges.
He wasn't able to implement his gameplan. And despite ringside judge Cecil Peoples' legendary assertion that "leg kicks don't win fights," they certainly do ... at least in this case (in part). Condit's attacks exploited the biggest hole in Diaz's aggressive, in-your-face style, excess weight on the front leg to set up hand strikes, and he kept it as a go-to during a technically sound performance.
We all deserve a second chance to watch Diaz-Condit. As of this writing, I've watched it three times now, and still don't see anything meriting a decision for Diaz. I picked Diaz to win, and like him, I'm a native Northern Californian. I've seen the guy fight for nearly a decade now, and have come as close to rooting for him as I can allow myself for any fighter.
Yet for all this, there's no way I can say he won that fight. Can you honestly say that you do?
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst and Jason@jasonprobst.com