The scorecard's in the UFC 163 co-main event last night (Sat., Aug. 3, 2013) between Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis left much to be desired. The three judges scored the fight in unanimous fashion (29-28) for the winner "Mr. Wonderful;" however, there was one small problem:
Most mixed martial arts (MMA) fans felt Machida deserved the nod.
Make no mistake, the pivotal Light Heavyweight fight was close. Davis successfully converted take downs in the waning moments of the first two rounds, but aside from this, he didn't do much else -- just check out the Fight Metric numbers for proof.
Even well respected color commentator, Brian Stann, spoke often about Machida out striking Davis, as well as doing a wonderful job of using a "whizzer" to avoid most take downs.
"Davis really needs to do something here -- to have any chance of winning this fight."
Stann was not alone in his opinion. In fact, UFC President Dana White -- who is known to be tougher than most on judging in the sport -- scored the bout in favor of the former 205-pound champion three rounds to zero.
He explained his unofficial decision to Yahoo!Sports:
"Machida definitely won that fight, definitely. But, that's his fault. He knows MMA judging sucks. It's terrible, it's [expletive], but he went out there and let him do it. I can't remember whether it was the first or the second, but Machida had that combination where he threw all those punches and ran across the cage and ended with that knee. That's when he's really good. But, he wants to stay back and be a counter puncher and wait and fight cautiously. He's got the abilities, but he just doesn't bring it. He loves the counter and he got taken down at the end of both rounds."
It's no secret that the sport needs to do something to rectify the recurring trend of poor judging. The fact that the main story line coming out of a premier event for the largest mixed martial arts (MMA) company in the world is the lack of quality officiating/judging on a regular basis is something of major concern.
And it's not a good look for a sport with inherent image issues.
As much as the loss will negatively effect Machida, the win will positively impact the ascension of Davis, who was ranked No. 7 by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heading into this weekend.
The 205-pound standout was ecstatic following the fight (via FUEL TV):
"I think I definitely did enough -- I trust the judges. They gave me the nod and I have to say thanks. This is his home country, I know it was a close fight -- I was in there, I had fists grazing my head the whole time, I know. It's one of those things where when you're so close to the action, you have no idea how it looks on the outside. A lot of times I watch fights and I go home and say, 'Wow! That looked a lot different than a first-person perspective.' I was thinking, 100 percent, this is close, please go my way."
Go his way it did.
It's a reaction that is completely opposite to Machida's, who was at a loss for words following the decision. In his post-fight interview he pointed out the crowd's anger and cited that its reaction was cause for controversy.
"I really don't know what they are judging, Just listen to the crowd. They're telling you what is happening."
Social media reaction was filled with MMA analysts and journalists revealing their scorecards (even though no one asked) 30-27 in favor of Lyoto Machida as round three came to a close. Following Bruce Buffer's announcement of the victor, there was an instant denouncing of all things MMA and it's hard to argue otherwise.