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UFC 167 Parting Shots

By on November 19, 2013

rashad evansUFC 167 was a bit of a mixed bag, with an interesting combination of violently entertaining finishes, paint-by-numbers decisions, and decisions that the judges either almost blew (Lawler-MacDonald) or blew altogether (St. Pierre-Hendricks).

I’ve already discussed the GSP-Hendricks decision at length, but one point I really want to hammer home is this: why can’t we expect our judges to be competent at what they do?

I get that their track record is awful, but how in the world is blaming the fighters for “letting” the fight go to a decision helpful?

How is expecting and even accepting these terrible decisions as a nasty but unavoidable part of the sport helpful?

What other job in the world comes with an expectation of mediocrity, especially when considering the huge pool of potential individuals who could take the place of the bums who are messing up close, but clear fights?

Lawler-MacDonald was close, but clear. All three rounds.

St. Pierre-Hendricks was close, but clear.

We should, and we have, to expect judges to make the right call on these types of fights. Their job is primarily not to award victories to fighters who dominate three and five-round decisions; anybody can do that. Their job is really to make sure that in a close fight, we have experts who know the sport, know the criteria, and know what happened in the fight well enough to ensure the right person wins.

That is the standard and that is what these people must be held to. Every. Time. Stop letting these men and women off the hook when they fuck up by saying things like “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges.” The judges are there to make sure the right person wins when the fight has to end in the interest of time and fighter safety. You can’t always finish world-class opponents, no matter how hard you try. It’s not the fighters’ faults that these supposedly-trained professionals can’t do their jobs. Stop blaming them.

Quick Shots

–I’ve got more to say about these gentlemen later, but suffice to say that Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley looked very impressive on Saturday night. I know that depending on what Georges St. Pierre decides to do, people would like to see Lawler and Hendricks face off for an interim belt, but how great would a Lawler-Woodley fight be? There are just so many excellent potential matchups at 170 pounds right now. It’s a great division.

–People who are saying Rory MacDonald is a fraud are a little too eager to judge. MacDonald is a good fighter and very likely will become a great one. It takes time for most fighters to grow in this sport. Every now and then, someone like Jon Jones comes along and we forget that he is the exception, not the norm. For most young fighters who are on the rise, there are plenty of setbacks on the way. Look at other blue-chippers like Michael McDonald, Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, and so on.

–Has Rashad Evans found his way again? I’m a Rashad fan, but I don’t know that you can tell based off his fight with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen is too undersized for the fight to really mean a whole lot. I wish all of these borderline 205-ers would go back to 185 pounds, where we wouldn’t have to wonder how much of their performances have to do with the size gap and how much of it has to do with their actual ability levels.

Movin’ On Up Award

Robbie Lawler is an obvious choice here, and I won’t deny him. However, elsewhere on the card, a bantamweight named Sergio Pettis made a quiet UFC debut on the prelims at just 20 years old, earning a unanimous decision over veteran Will Campuzano. Pettis is the younger brother of lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, and he may end up being the future at 135 pounds.

Beautiful Loser Award

Has anyone ever deserved this more than Johny Hendricks?

Holy $#!% Award

Sadly, the biggest holy shit moment might have been when the scorecards were announced for the main event. Aside from that debacle, there was Woodley’s terrific, brutal knockout of Josh Koscheck. Woodley is really evolving.

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