Top 5 Most Controversial UFC Decisions in Recent Memory
It's one of the worst problems the UFC has at this point in time.
It has many names. Theft, robbery, incompetence, but one name stands above the rest. Controversy.
The UFC is not perfect. It has many areas where it's great in, but one very bad area that sticks out like a sore thumb. That's the judging.
UFC judging has always been a problem. Two fighters go a full 15 or 25 minutes and the fans think there is a clear winner at the end based on what they just saw.
But then it happens. The judges saw something totally different that is sometimes justified, but most of the time it isn't even close.
In honour of the recent Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson 2 title fight, I will count down some controversial UFC decisions in recent memory. Enjoy!
Before you check out the Top 5 here are a few that didn't make the cut.
Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen
Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akyiama
Evan Dunham vs. Sean Sherk
Nick Ring vs. Court McGee
Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua
Lyoto Machida vs. Rampage Jackson
Darren Elkins vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Brandon Vera vs. Randy Couture
Michael Bisping vs. Matt Hamill
If I forgot to mention any, be sure to let me know in the comments.
And now on to the main event.
No. 5: Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan 1
For any who saw this fight, they must have seen Nam Phan as the winner.
For the better part of three rounds, Phan battered Garcia with punches, kicks and knees, while Garcia swung wildly and tried to hit the ever-moving Phan.
This fight to me wasn't even close. Phan came in, did the damage and was out again before Garcia could hit him with anything significant.
Then the score cards were read and Garcia walked away with the split decision victory. The crowd at The Pearl at the Palms loudly booed the decision. The UFC even felt that Phan won this fight, as it paid him his win bonus.
This fight was a robbery and I don't use that term loosely.
Phan would avenge this loss by defeating Garcia at UFC 136 by decision.
No. 4: Martin Kampmann vs Diego Sanchez/Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Shields
Poor Martin Kampmann. Before he got off on his nice three-fight win streak, he was the poster child for bad decisions.
The first came against Jake Shields, who was making his UFC debut. Kampmann was consistently able to escape any of the dangerous positions Shields put him in.
He essentially dictated where the fight would go. Yet he lost by split decision in a fight many thought he won.
The second straw came against Diego Sanchez. This fight was much closer than the Shields fight. It was exciting but again came with controversy.
Many thought Kampmann won, many thought Sanchez won. I personally gave a slight edge to Kampmann, or even a draw was a possibility.
Both of these fights are controversial to this day. I'm still confused about the latter of the two fights based on how close it was.
No. 3: Shogun Rua vs. Lyoto Machida 1
The controversy with this one was present throughout the entire fight. In a five-round title fight, what could possibly happen?
The first round was very, very close. Maybe the closest I've ever seen. But the rest in my opinion was Shogun stalking Machida and making him make the first move. He would then counter effectively.
The scores were all over the place for this fight. I've heard some scored it 50-45 for Shogun, or 50-45 for Machida. I rewatched the fight a few times and personally scored it 48-47 for Shogun.
But again this fight was very close and could have gone either way.
Shogun knocked out Machida in the rematch between these two, leaving little doubt who the true champ at that point was.
No. 2: Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz
Condit and Diaz faced off for the chance to become the Interim welterweight champion, while Georges St. Pierre recovered from surgery.
This fight was extremely controversial. Many claimed that Condit was fighting for points and not for the finish. It is true that Condit had a game plan which involved lots movement and kicks. He stuck to his game plan 100 percent through the fight.
Many also think Condit ran from Diaz the entire fight.
Then the scoring issue came into effect. Many thought that Diaz won the first, third and fifth rounds. Others thought Condit had Rounds 3, 4 and 5 sealed.
In the end, Condit walked away with the belt courtesy of a unanimous decision. I won't tell you who I thought won; all I will say is I'm sure glad I wasn't a judge for that fight.
No. 1: Frankie Edgar vs Ben Henderson 1 & 2
What can I say about these two fights that hasn't already been said?
Both were extremely close fights by two excellent athletes. Despite Edgar losing both fights, many fans believe him to be 2-0 against Henderson.
This time Henderson walked away with a split decision victory over Edgar.
This fight was not a robbery by any means. It was very close, and could easily have gone either way.
For my money's worth I had Edgar winning a razor-thin decision.
The fact that he didn't win doesn't upset me. It was a great fight, between two awesome competitors.
My best advice here is don't leave it in the hands of the judges. Dana White is dead right in saying that. Even if you think you've won, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Judging in MMA needs to get drastically better to keep these controversial decisions from happening anymore in the future.
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