Much of the MMA world cried bloody murder when Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was awarded his controversial split decision victory over Lyoto Machida at UFC 123. Although their light heavyweight battle took place over a week ago, fans are still clamoring over the modern day mystery that is mixed martial arts officiating.
The latest to drop his infinite words of wisdom on the matter was UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. The game’s most cherished athlete believes swapping judges between the two combat sports may be one the major issues surrounding MMA’s unpredictable scoring system.
“I think it’s a huge issue. It’s a lot different than judging boxing and unfortunately a lot of judges transferred over,” Couture told ESPNRadio1100 (Transcribed by Yahoo!). “They don’t understand a lot of the intricacies of our sport. Who’s controlling the tempo of the fight. Who’s actually technically scoring.”
In regards to the Octagon’s latest drama, “The Natural” claims Rampage used smoke and mirrors to escape The Motor City with the razor-thin decision victory. While B.A. Baracus may not have inflicted significantly more damage than his opponent, the perception was he was far more aggressive.
As the old adage goes, ‘Perception is reality’ and in this case, Couture claims reality bites.
“They see some superficial things, like Rampage moving forward the whole time in that fight, and they attribute that to him winning those rounds,” Couture expressed. “And technically that’s not what was happening. It sucks to be a fighter and have that happen to you.”
Veteran judges Cecil Peoples and Nelson “Doc” Hamilton have received quite a bit of flack for the dubious decisions they’ve rendered over the years. Coincidentally, both rewarded Machida with a favorable score in his UFC 104 unanimous decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in October 2009. Ironically, Shogun was the one pushing the pace for much of that title fight, but was forced to leave Downtown LA without the hardware nonetheless.
Peoples promptly told fans, “If you don’t like it, you can go to hell!”
Hamilton, on the other hand, admitted his line of vision wasn’t ideal and he, “couldn’t see the punches and whether they were landing.”
Couture claims being deaf, dumb and blind aren’t valid excuses. Especially as MMA continues to penetrate the mainstream market.
“Unfortunately guys like Peoples, and some of these guys have been around for a long time, (you’d) think they’d have figured it out by now,” Couture added. “I think there has to be some sort of education or certification program for these judges to get them up to speed on the criteria and what they’re looking at to the judge these fights.”
FYI – Peoples was not sitting cage-side for UFC 123, but Hamilton had Machida beating Rampage 29-28 on his official box score.