When the prematch hype machine sputtered, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua showed us how the semi-charmed UFC organization has survived and built itself into the dynasty it's become.
As Sherdog Radio Network's Jordan Breen puts it "ZUFFA always seem to turn lemons into lemonade." Nowhere was that more evident than UFC 104's main event bout.
Maligned as bad matchmaking, and an undeserved title shot from just another of Pride's overrated fighters, "Shogun" put on a flawless strategic performance that made everyone in attendance have flashbacks of him dominating guys like Alistair Overeem.
However, the judges thought otherwise and awarded Lyoto Machida a 48-47 Unanimous Decision.
So what was the disconnect? How could the thousands in attendance and watching all be so wrong?
1. Blunder was the word of the night.
From Steve "Stoppagatti" pulling not one but two horror show stoppages out of his rear in the Yoshida-Johnson and Velasquez-Rothwell bouts, to Jeff Sherwood's bombshell that one "female" judge wasn't in her seat until half way through round one, for one of the fights on the undercard.
It seemed the night was doomed for this sort of crap from the word go. I actually jokingly typed..."you watch, they'll give it to Machida" into a chatroom of choice, to a chorus of laughter.
Then again...maybe I jinxed it?
2. Bonnar vs. Griffin
Back on that night a lot of good and bad things happened when the UFC was christened on live television.
One of the bad things was that counter punching and landing effective strikes while moving back somehow don't count in MMA.
To this day, I still contend Stephan Bonnar was screwed over in the third round because he switched to a countering style trying to catch the wild(er) Griffin moving in. He succeeded, catching Forrest with a countless number of hard counters as he moved in. But yet got no love from the judges.
Again this came up as Shogun worked effective counter body kicks that I'm sure will have Machida drinking his own red urine for the next week or so. The only way I can fathom the decision is if you don't count counters while moving backward.
Which is just a lowdown dirty shame.
3. You can't be the champ....
This is why boxing judges and refs should have no contact with the MMA world.
While this came up on the telecast, where the judges couldn't hear it, I was stunned this hasn't before when in states like Texas, California, or Nevada (or Virginia) with dual sport judging.
It's old boxing lore that if a fight for a title goes to the cards, and a death isn't immanent, then you're hamstrung to immediately give the win to the champion.
The goal post need to be in the same place for both fighters in order to be fair. Fairness is the backbone of sport; it's what separates us from Pro Wrestling. If one fighter has a built in advantage, does it not tilt the balance of power in a fighters favor?
Do we really want that?
The reason we all hate Boxing is because old traditions, corrupt politics, and money men gets in the way of good fighters, and fights.
We should be trying to say as far away from boxing as we can, lest it rub off on us.
4. The real reason
As much as we try, it seems MMA scoring and judging systems, and regulations can't seem to quantify results, at a consistent clip. A fight result is like pornography(don't get your hopes up Bernard) You can't totally explain it, but you know what happened when you see it.
That night in a bout that was more about tactics, and the art of counter fighting. Maurico “Shogun” Rua proved for 25 minutes, he had formulated a game plan and imposed his will in at least four of the five rounds.
When the crowd rose in the final 40 seconds, if the result was even in a shadow of doubt the crowd wouldn't have been chanting “Shogun.”
They were congratulating what they knew was the new UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion. And celebrating one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
However, the three blind mice couldn't, for whatever reason, figure how to fill out the scorecard in a way that was even remotely close to what the actually outcome was.
Over the last few months, the sport has been marred by a seemingly unending string of screw jobs and the only ones to be able to fix it currently couldn't spell MMA if I did it for them.
Those kind folks currently chair the State Athletic Commissions. They hold the power, and ultimately little will be done until we reach those folks, and we best get used to it.
While I disagree with my compatriot Joseph Lupoli on pretty much everything else on this topic, he does have one thing right. Trying to use boxing systems to score MMA fights is about as intelligent as trying to use a flesh light as a flashlight.
Its time for a change, the problem is under the current structure only elected officials can put the screws to the state athletic commissions... And that's as hopeless a fight as getting a playoff in college football, or bringing about world peace.
So how can we fix it? The long and the short of it is...I just don't know.