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Top 5 controversial MMA title fight decisions


MusicIzMySavior

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?Never leave it in the hands of the judges? has become one of UFC President Dana White?s favourite mantras in recent years ? and given some of the shocking judging aberrations the sport has witnessed during its brief history it isn?t difficult to see why.

 

Whilst the potential for human error will never be completely eliminated from sports officiating, with so much at stake at the highest level, the men and women charged with judging MMA have a responsibility to ensure that questionable decisions such as BJ Penn?s loss to Frankie Edgar on Saturday night are avoided at all costs.

 

What follows is an analysis of some the most controversial title fight decisions in MMA history. Presented in chronological order ? and by no means claiming to be definitive ? the following list features judges? verdicts that left many a fighter, fan and commentator scratching their head in disbelief:

 

Randy Couture vs Pedro Rizzo

UFC 31 ? 04/05/2001

Couture defends UFC Heavyweight title via Unanimous Decision

 

The most surprising aspect of this classic encounter was that it went to the judges? score cards at all, after both men came agonisingly close to winning it within the 25 minute time limit. The first round ended with ?The Natural? unloading fistfuls of trademark ground ?n? pound on the Brazilian challenger who was lucky to be saved by the bell, but Rizzo returned the favour in the second and fifth, battering the champion on the feet before having a potential finish cut short by the clock on both occasions. A close and largely uneventful third period and a Couture-dominated fourth resulted in a unanimous decision victory for the champion ? who looked genuinely surprised when the outcome was announced ? but any question marks surrounding the validity of his victory were firmly answered by his decisive triumph in their rematch six months later at UFC 34.

 

 

Forrest Griffin vs Quinton Jackson

UFC 86 ? 05/07/2008

Griffin wins the UFC Light-Heavyweight title via Unanimous Decision

 

Jackson - a heavy pre-fight favourite coming off back-to-back victories over Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson - started the contest strongly, dropping Griffin with an uppercut in the opening round. But the challenger stuck to his game plan and used angles and footwork to chip away at ?Rampage? from distance, buckling him with a series of low kicks in the second round that hampered his movement for the remainder of the fight. Despite this, Jackson appeared to do enough to win the third and fourth rounds, opening up a cut over Griffin?s eye in the process. Having finished the final round in the ascendancy, a bemused Griffin won a unanimous decision victory 48-46, 48-46, 49-46 on the judges? scorecards. The calls from Jackson?s camp for an immediate rematch would fail to come to fruition after Griffin lost the title in his first defence later that year against Rashad Evans at UFC 92.

 

 

Mike Easton vs Chase Bebe

UWC 7 ? 03/10/2009

Easton defends UWC Bantamweight title via Split Decision (later changed to No Contest)

 

In a fight that had been rescheduled following Beebe?s no-show at UWC 5 in February ?09, Easton emerged with a split decision victory in what was arguably the most controversial result on this list ? later to be awarded ?Robbery of the Year 2009? by Sherdog. After a close first and second round, Beebe dominated rounds three, four and five using his grappling to nullify Easton?s stand up, scoring takedowns and securing the back mount position on multiple occasions. When the decision was eventually announced, two judges scored it 49-46 49-46 for Easton while the third had it 48-47 for Beebe. This outcome was so contentious and the backlash so fierce that the Virginia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Program conducted an enquiry which resulted in the bout subsequently being changed to a no-contest. As yet there are no plans for a re-match and Beebe has publicly stated that he would ?never fight in that state again?.

 

 

Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Rua

UFC 104 ? 24/10/2009

Machida defends UFC Light-Heavyweight title via Unanimous Decision

 

Prior to this fight nobody had been able to work out an effective strategy for engaging the unbeaten Machida. But over 25 gruelling minutes, ?Shogun? laid down the blueprint for defeating the karate-stylist, staying outside of his reach to land a barrage of brutal leg kicks to the body and mid-section that took the champion out of his game plan and visibly slowed him down over the course of the fight. While rounds one to three were exceedingly close, Rua clearly began to dominate the exchanges in the championship rounds, which led to uproar amongst the spectators when all three judges returned decisions of 48-47 in favour of ?The Dragon?. A highly anticipated rematch between the pair has since been scheduled for UFC 113 this May.

 

 

BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar

UFC 112 ? 10/04/2010

Edgar wins UFC Lightweight title via Unanimous Decision

 

In the most recent example of substandard judging influencing the outcome of a title fight, huge underdog Frankie Edgar controversially defeated pound-for-pound lightweight king BJ Penn last Saturday night at UFC 112. While Edgar used excellent footwork and movement to keep the fight competitive, Penn clearly connected with all the power punches in the first three rounds, landing his jab and left-hook repeatedly on the challenger. Edgar did manage to take the ?The Prodigy? down in rounds two and five ? a feat in itself considering Penn?s outstanding takedown defence ? but having done so he could do nothing to keep him there let alone inflict any damage. At best Edgar could claim to have won the fourth and fifth rounds based on an increased number of shots landed, but the judges? scores of 48-47, 49-46 and an utterly ridiculous 50-45 in favour of the challenger simply did not add up. The outcome leaves the immediate future of the division unclear.

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I only agree with 2/5 of your selections, being the Easton vs Bebe fight and the Machida vs Rua fight. Forrest dominated Rampage and even had a 10-8 round. BJ Penn is my second fav fighter but there is no doubt in my mind BJ lost that fight. Edgar implemented an excellent game-plan and won that fight with good old fashioned hard work. Couture vs Rizzo is close, but once again I believe Couture outlasted Rizzo.

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I agree with what Dana White said a long time ago but some how doesnt follow it now. "There will never be a Belt holder in the UFC by the way of a decision" So I agree with The Rampage and BJ fight considering the champs lost in such a non convincing way. And hmm I wonder whos gonna win the BJ PENN rematch...? lol

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I only agree with 2/5 of your selections' date=' being the Easton vs Bebe fight and the Machida vs Rua fight. Forrest dominated Rampage and even had a 10-8 round. BJ Penn is my second fav fighter but there is no doubt in my mind BJ lost that fight. Edgar implemented an excellent game-plan and won that fight with good old fashioned hard work. Couture vs Rizzo is close, but once again I believe Couture outlasted Rizzo.[/quote']

 

I agree with most of that except for the Rizzo-Couture fight Rizzo won he crippled him with leg kicks.

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Nice thread!

I do believe both Machida and Edgar won those fights. But they did cause huge controversy no doubt.

 

i agree, like machida...it didnt seem like he won that fight which caused controversy but on the other hand it didnt look to me like he lost that fight either....its hard to pick winners and losers from close fights...kind of like bonner vs griffen, to me bonner didnt lose, but he also in my mind didnt win....same for forrest so which ever way it would have been scored there's always room to argue the loosers corner.

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Nice post.. pretty much agree with it. I really did not like the penn edgar fight.. Edgars strategy was simply to win the scorecard.. jab=point, jab=point, jab=point.. He never had any intention of finishing the fight or even engaging with the thought of finishing.. boring, mediocre at best

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