HERE IS STEVE SIEVERT, HOUSTON CHRONICLE ON THE CARD (note Cro Cop injury wasn’t known at time of taping):

Is there really a judging credibility issue with the UFC or is the media overplaying it’s hand on what was simply a tight fight?

My friend Chris Russell, formerly of Sporting News Radio and SportsFan Radio Network, used to drive me nuts calling every 115-113 boxing match…”controversial.” Bert Sugar does a horrible disservice to the sport which has made him a lot of money by fanning those same flames each time a close decision comes down the pike.

I’ve been on the other side of several boxing matches this year. I had DelaHoya edging Mayweather and Margarito getting by Williams. I disagreed with the way the fight was scored but I didn’t call for a new judging system. The judges are human beings, everyone has a slightly different view of the outcome.  

A big part of this chatter around the decision in UFC 75’s Matt Hamill-Mike Bisping fight is due to the relatively inexperienced “media” covering MMA. I’m guessing most of the folks covering MMA are under 30 with little experience covering the entire fight game. This is not meant to denigrate the new media. They do an awesome job.

But I really think you need some boxing media background to gain real perspective on how judging is incredibly subjective. 

Our buddy Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports, exploded on the topic…questioning UFC’s placement of the judges in the U.K. and the judges’ credibility. Kevin has seen a lot of shaky, questionable calls in boxing so I’m really shocked with all that experience that his reaction was this strong.  

Iole says:

White has made no secret that he welcomes regulation and, largely for that reason, last year hired the highly respected Marc Ratner away from the Nevada Athletic Commission. One of Ratner’s chief duties is to help get the sport sanctioned in jurisdictions where it is not.

The UFC doesn’t hold events where there is no regulation in the U.S. However, even though there is no regulation of the MMA in the UK, UFC 75 was the company’s third in the U.K. this year and its fourth ever.

And while it’s clearly been a great business decision – Saturday’s gate was $2.7 million and merchandise sales set an arena record, surpassing what was done at a Rolling Stones concert – it hasn’t come without a price (WHAT’S THE PRICE? MMA FANS ON THE INTERNET WHO LIKE HAMILL THOUGHT IT WAS A BLOWOUT?).

The UFC put Ratner in charge of regulating the fights in the U.K. He administered the weigh-in, oversaw the drug tests and appointed the referee and the judges. The UFC, White says, pays the judges when the fights are in the U.K.

I agree that the U.K. needs to oversee the events at some point in the future. That said, UFC has the best guy in the world in-house, to oversee things in the interim. Not for one second could I see Marc Ratner missing some impropriety.

The fix was not in. As far as future marketing plans, it didn’t matter much if Bisping or Hamill won the fight. UFC fighters have survived plenty of tight decision losses in the past. You heard the British fight fans, many of whom thought Hamill won the fight….they wouldn’t drop the sport if their native son had lost.  

Here’s my biggest issue. Hamill did little in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to secure a DOMINANT victory. I’ve watched those two rounds multiple times.

In the 2nd, Hamill scored two takedowns and landed 4-of-34 punches on the feet. One of the takedowns came as Bisping landed a kick on his left leg. Once on the ground, Hamill pawed at Bisping and buried his head (landing just 2-of-7 punches).

If you want to get technical on the scoring, you could give Bisping credit for escaping twice. I’m no Compubox (thank god, it’s incredibly subjective just like judges), but I had Bisping landing 11-of-36 punches in the second. Iole said he could see possibly scoring the 2nd for Bisping.

I thought the third was close with Bisping gaining the edge again. He consistently landed the harder punches. Hamill did land one good right and a strong jab. He also got two takedowns. After the first takedown, he landed zippo and after the second, he did land some solid hammer fists as Bisping was getting to his feet.

Takedowns are great but as many fighters have said in the past, it’s not the UTC (Ultimate Takedown Championship). If you’re shredding a guy for five or six takedowns a round, I give it to you. But when you get the takedown, the opponent pulls guard and you land nothing significant…how should that be scored?  

Hamill’s corner should be ashamed. They let their fighter down again. It’s the same deal with him each fight. He’s surprisingly effective with his standup early on, then drops his hands and looks winded as the fight moves along.

With a little better fight management, I could’ve easily had Hamill 30-27 in this one.

Scoring is subjective and Cecil Peoples/Jeff Mullen aren’t supposed to judge based on Bisping being a dick in the post-fight.

We did try to get Iole’s reaction on Monday. He’s on a quickie vacation. We’ll grab him later this week.

Explore posts in the same categories: Media musings, UFC


  1. Shawn Says:

    I would have to agree on your assessment of the fight. I wasn’t able to watch the fight live but heard about the decision from a couple of friends. They mentioned that the fight was lopsided and Hamil deserved the win easily. Once I had time to watch the fight, I came out with a completely different view from them. Bisping in the second and third landed more strikes and also stuffed a number of takedown attempts, 3 or 4 in the third. While it could be seen as somewhat controversial as most split-decisions are, it really isn’t as big of a deal that some making it out to be.

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