Lyoto Machida's win at UFC 104 will certainly go down in the history books as one of the most talked about and highly controversial decisions in the history of the organization.
While there have been numerous valid arguments explaining why both Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua could have come away victorious, that only furthers the stranglehold that controversy has on this fight. If you can reasonably see both guys winning, handing one man a Unanimous Decision seems a little questionable, doesn't it?
But fans of the UFC shouldn't be shocked by the occasional controversial decision. After all, it's not like it hasn't happened a number of times before.
Top 10 Controversial Decision in UFC History
10. Brock Lesnar to Fight for the Title
Not the type of decision that the rest of this article will deal with, but the move to put the former WWE superstar inside the cage opposite the returning Randy Couture just three fights into his MMA career, and with a 1-1 record in the UFC still makes some fans blood boil.
Compounding the frustrations of those irrate fans is the fact that Lesnar defeated Randy Couture to win the title, and subsequently stopped Frank Mir in their second encounter, unifying the heavyweight title and looking like a man who might rule the division for quite some time.
9. Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz Draw at UFC 73
Tito won this fight. It's actually a fact, in a way.
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" came away with 29-28 scores on all three judges scorecards, but incurred a point deduction for gripping the cage to defend an Evans takedown.
Now, the point certainly should have been taken away and therefore the 28-28 decision is valid, but c'mon...how many times do guys grab the fence and receive only a warning and not a point deduction?
8. Caol Uno and B.J. Penn Draw at UFC 41
So Jens Pulver walks away from the UFC in a contract dispute, leaving behind the lightweight title. A tournament is designed to crown a new champion, with Uno and Penn defeating Din Thomas and Matt Serra respectively to reach the finals.
After five minutes of back-and-forth action, the judges called the fight a draw.
Now, draws aren't entirely bad; in fact, more fights could probably stand to be called draws. The only problem here was that the UFC was looking to determine a new champion, and the decision didn't help decide anything.
As a result, the title was abolished until Sean Sherk defeated Kenny Florian at UFC 64.
7. Yoshihiro Akiyama defeats Alan Belcher at UFC 100
The debuting Japanese sensation versus the tough-as-nails UFC veteran earned Fight of the Night honors at the company's centennial event, but who actually won the fight became a topic for debate.
While Akiyama started to look tired as the fight wore on, throwing fewer and fewer strikes, Belcher looked to be finding his range and pushing the pace effectively.
When the scorecards were read, Akiyama had his hand raised. Ask an Alan Belcher fan about this fight at your own risk.
6. Dan Hardy defeats Marcus Davis at UFC 99
This fight was already under the watchful eye of fight fans worldwide, as the war of words between Hardy and Davis waged on for months leading into their meeting in Germany.
Following the reading of the scorecards, some eyes turned red with anger, including those of Davis, who felt he won the fight and declared right away that he was interested in a rematch in a location more favorable to him, like Boston, or Ireland.
Like most of the fights on this list, this was a full-on battle that could have gone either way and counts as one of the many times in the history of the sport where I wouldn't not want to trade places with one of the judges sitting cage-side.
5. Georges St-Pierre defeats B.J. Penn at UFC 58
Before Greasegate, there was UFC 58, where "The Prodigy" made like The Prodigal Son and returned to the UFC to take on arch rival Georges St-Pierre in a match that would determine the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.
The first round was all Penn, as the current lightweight champion bloodied up GSP in a fashion we have yet to see since. Rounds two and three were much closer and fans on both sides of the debate will still argue their cases to the death in support of their warrior of choice.
Penn eventually got his wish for a rematch, lost for a second time and the complaining started all over again. Perhaps it will take a third beating for "The Prodigy" to realize that St-Pierre is his personal kryptonite.
4. Forrest Griffin defeats Stephan Bonnar at The Ultimate Fighter Finale
Credited by Dana White as "the most important fight in UFC history," some fans still aren't so sure that the right man was deemed The Ultimate Fighter.
While there is no questioning that both fighters gave their all and deserved the six-figure contracts they were each awarded, some would argue that Bonnar was the more effective striker in the third and final round, countering the future light heavyweight champion and doing some quality dirty boxing on the inside.
In the end, Griffin came away with a 29-28 win, a Toyota Scion and the moniker of "The Original Ultimate Fighter."
3. Bas Rutten defeats Kevin Randleman
For everyone who argues that you can't win a fight from your back, please refer to the victory scored by "El Guapo" at UFC 20 to claim the vacant heavyweight title.
Before the UFC started using the 10-point must system and scoring rounds individually, Rutten survived a busted nose and some serious ground and pound from the former Ohio State standout en route to winning after 21 minutes of action.
Though "The Monster" maintained dominant position throughout the fight, Rutten earned the nod from the judges for effective striking with Randleman in his guard.
Somehow, in the years since this fight, judges have forgotten that you can actually earn points despite being on your back.
2. Forrest Griffin defeats Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 86
This one is the Bizarro World version of the Machida—Shogun fight of four nights ago.
While the UFC 104 main event featured no knockdowns, or obvious moments where one fighter was clearly dominant leading to the champion retaining his title on the basis of being champion, this title tilt went in the complete opposite direction.
Jackson floored Griffin in Round One, while the fan favorite chopped away at the champion's left leg to the point of buckling Jackson throughout the second stanza. From there on out, things were pretty tight, with neither man scoring anything close to ending the fight and leaving the result in question.
Where Machida might have benefited from being the champion, Jackson was not so fortunate, losing a Unanimous Decision to Griffin. A year-and-a-half later, Rampage is still upset about the whole situation.
1. Michael Bisping defeats Matt Hamill at UFC 75
The former competitors on Season Three of The Ultimate Fighter squared off in what is widely considered the most controversial fight in UFC history when they met at UFC 75 in London.
Hamill took Bisping down almost at will for the majority of the first two rounds, taking the fight to his British counterpart in his own backyard. Things changed in Round Three, where Bisping landed numerous strikes and stuffed tired takedown attempts over the final six, or seven minutes of the 15 minute fight.
When the scores were read, Bisping came away with a Split Decision victory, earning two 29-28 scores to Hamill's lone 30-27. Many fans cried foul, believing the British fighter earned a home court advantage of sorts, except that the lone British judge was the one who awarded Hamill the 30-27 score.
While Lyoto Machida and Shogun Rua are currently the center of the controversy storm inside the UFC, they are not the first pair of fighters to have a result come under scrutiny and they certainly won't be the last.
Controversy is nothing new, and in a sport with subjective scoring, it won't be going away anytime soon either.
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