Not Quite Unanimous

Written by Tom Ngo
July 8th, 2008

The fallout after UFC 86’s controversial ending in the Forrest Griffin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Light Heavyweight Championship bout has reached epic heights. Griffin won the bout via Unanimous Decision taking away Rampage’s title, however many, especially those in the Rampage camp, feel that the judges were watching an entirely different fight.

Rampage’s Coach, Juanito Ibarra, indicated that he plans to protest the Unanimous Decision with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Even if the Commission were to see the fight in Rampage’s favor, it is highly unlikely that anything would be done about it, especially not a reversal.  

“We got robbed,” Ibarra told Sherdog.com Sunday afternoon. “We won the majority of the fight.”

Judges Nelson Hamilton and Adalaide Byrd both scored the bout 48-46 in favor of Griffin. That means that both saw Griffin winning the 2ndRound 10-8. Griffin did dominate the round, landing two damaging leg kicks and taking the Champion down a minute into the round. You would have very little argument seeing how they saw it 10-8. 

The third Judge, Roy Silbert, saw Griffin winning the 5 round fight 49-46. Here is where the mystery comes in. That means that this judge scored all rounds in Griffin’s favor, outside of one. Most likely the 1stRound. However, Griffin did not clearly win Rounds 3, 4 or 5.

Even Griffin’s coach, training partner, and Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture, thought the judges cards could have looked different.

“I thought that it was a very, very close fight,” Couture said. “I thought that it was three rounds to two (for Griffin). I thought that Quinton did enough to win two of the rounds clearly. I thought they may have been able to give Quinton a 10-8 round in the first round with the knockdown and then the second round you could have given Forrest a 10-8 round.”

“And it could have went the other way,” Couture added. “If one or two rounds went the other way, it could have been three rounds to two for Quinton. It was that close.”

However, there is an unwritten rule when it comes to fighting a Champion for his belt, you have to BEAT HIM for it. And in a fight that close, many feel that Griffin didn’t do enough to take the belt away.

“You have to beat the champion,” an upset Ibarra emphasized.
For those that feel this is just Rampage’s camp stirring up controversy to save face, well think again. Immediately after the announcement was made, the Las Vegas crowd, where Griffin trains, rained down boos of disapproval.

“Hey,” Griffin responded back in his post fight Octagon interview. “What the hell? What? What? Are you kidding me? Come on.”

Griffin knew that it was a close fight and by no means did he dominate his way to a Unanimous Decision.

“…I think we’re going to have to do that again,” Griffin said about a possible mulligan.

In his Octagon interview, Rampage seemingly admitted defeat saying, “He just whooped my ass.”

However, something changed his mind from the time he left the Octagon to the time he spoke at the post-fight press conference.

“I feel like I won the fight,” the former Champion stated. “When I think about it, and my cornermen and other people who watched it, they thought he won the second and maybe the last round. And I won the rest.”

“I was surprised he won the fight, cause I could have swore I dropped him a couple times. I power bombed him. And then it was unanimous? I’m kind of surprised about that,” Rampage added. “I feel like if your the champ, somebody got to beat the champ, but it was unanimous. I’m not a judge.”

Rampage came over from PrideFC, where there has never been a shortage of controversial decisions. Needless to say, Rampage has been well trained that he always needs to finish fights and not let it get to the judges’ hands.

“I didn’t want to leave it up to the judges,” Jackson said. “But you know what? I didn’t think Forrest could hang with me. I said if Forrest gets past the 3rdRound, he’ll gain my respect and I respect him. And if I ever fight him again, I’m gonna respect the hell out of him with my right hand.”

Unfortunately for Rampage, the fight did get to the judges. This is another hard lesson learned, and it leaves the former Champ and his camp looking for a shot at redemption.

“I got it. I got it. I’m not waiting. Next fight,” said Ibarra who immediately approached UFC President Dana White and co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta in the Octagon about making a rematch. “I asked for it, immediately, in the cage, and Forrest agreed. The rematch is going to go like I first thought. Forrest is going to try to do more, and next time he’s gonna get beat.”

Obviously, Rampage has no problem with getting another shot at Griffin.

“I’m happy with a rematch. I always want a rematch with anybody who beat me,” said Jackson . “Now Forrest’s on that list.”

(Picture Courtesy of UFC.com)

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