If you think about it, serving as a judge on an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event where most of the fights ended via stoppage would be just about the best gig imaginable.
I mean, talk about an easy night's work: As long as the fighters went out there and either submitted or knocked out each other, you'd get to watch a great night of mixed martial arts (MMA) action from the best seat in the house without stressing yourself over any of that pesky picking a winner after close rounds business.
Unfortunately, so far in 2014 judges at UFC events have had to work for their money. In fact, a staggering 65 percent of UFC fights have gone the distance since the UFC Fight Night 35 event on Jan. 4, 2014.
It's a trend that led to company president Dana White calling the 10-decision, record-breaking UFC 169 pay-per-view (PPV) event as "catastrophic." Indeed, if you watch UFC on a regular basis, then you know all too well that 20 of the last 24 fights have resulted in decisions.
That's not a good thing for a promotion expanding its schedule, and consequentially watering down the amount of star power concentrated on individual shows. If fans are going to be expected to care about events that feature lesser names up and down the card, then its imperative UFC at least delivers quality action time in and time out.
The thing is though, it's tough to see what UFC can do to alleviate this current streak of decisions. The recent move to eliminate the traditional "Knockout of the Night" and "Submission of the Night" bonuses in favor of a more open ended "Performance of the Night' bonus (read full details here) appeared to be partially designed to act as an incentive for fighters to go out and put on an exciting show, but on its first night the new system was a decided bust.
In retrospect, Joe Silva should have known there was a good chance this would happen when he put together the UFC Fight Night 36 card. After all, booking the human sleeping pill Frances Carmont in the co-main event and the often
elusive duller than dirt Lyoto Machida in the main event of the same show was just begging for trouble.
If you just watched the televised portion of last night's (Sat., Feb. 15, 2014) card you could be forgiven for thinking it wasn't the most offensive show in the world when it came to decisions. After all, in the televised opener Charles Oliveira did get a third round triangle choke submission over Andy Ogle in an otherwise boring fight, and elsewhere on the card Erick Silva rebounded from recent setbacks and scored a lighting quick first round knockout of Takanori Sato (watch video highlights here).
But, for those of you watched the "Prelims" portion of the under card on Fight Pass (read full recap here), or who were in attendance at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, well then you know just how irksome this card was for fans of conclusive finishes.
All seven fights on the under card violated that oft repeated mantra of UFC President Dana White's and were delivered into the overworked hands of the judges. Counting the main card, 10 out of 12 total fights ended in decision. That's the exact same ratio of decisions to finishes as Feb. 1's UFC 169 event, which means that so far in the month of February a whopping 83 percent of UFC fights have ended in decision.
Granted, it may be a bit early to start pressing the panic button. After all, the latter fourth of 2013 saw seemingly a new "Fight of the Year" contender with each UFC card. In fact, White branded 2013 UFC's "greatest year" ever thanks to the memorable action.
Sometimes these things just go in cycles.
If that's the case, let's hope UFC can break whatever slump they've been in so far this year before next weekend's UFC 170.
Then again, with the decision prone Daniel Cormier and an early pick for "dullest fight of the year" in Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia booked for the main card, there's a chance the judges could be in for another full night's work next weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.