Wow! Machida vs. Rua UFC 104 had the best judges in the history of MMA. Oh, wait! Maybe the judging was the worst. Or was it more of the same? I guess that is a matter of opinion. Then again, so is the judge’s decision isn’t it?
My take? I think the fight was very close. I think Rua edged him, but not by much. I am not shocked or appalled by the decision though. Ultimately, Round One and Round Two were very close, Round Three seems to favour Machida and most see Round Four as close (most favoring Rua) and Round Five going to Rua.
I think a Rua might have been more likely to get the decision if the fight were judged on the whole, but I understand the how close the fight was under a 10-point-must system. I also understand that the champ may be favored in a close round / fight.
Most acknowledge that the fight was close and the decision could have gone either way, but now some are going beyond that.
Some people are throwing out all sorts of numbers to justify both sides. Especially using numbers to quantify an opinion. That is what a judgment is. It is an educated opinion based on the evidence, in this case the fight.
Say what you want, but given the reaction, this fight was a split decision. Even if Machida won on the cards, the consensus decision was split. That is why they scheduled a rematch so quickly.
Some of the analysis and some of the breakdowns have been very insightful and others have been very amusing at the same time.
People have been breaking down the fight 50 different ways. People are watching it in slow motion. People are devising scoring systems to break it down. Others are doing detailed punch-hit counts and debating merit of various techniques. Some breakdowns have attempted to prove a point, and some have simply been opinions.
It is all a matter of opinions. Now, that brings me back to judging.
If someone’s opinion of the fight changes based on the second or third viewing, that is irrelevant. The judges only saw it once and without slow motion or instant replay to come up with their decision.
If you saw it different, you aren’t alone and from what I have seen there is nothing guaranteeing the judges are any more qualified than you to declare a winner. Obviously their opinion is the one that counts, but MMA judging is far from perfect.
The fact is, judging is subjective. Some judges are good and some judges are bad. I thought this was a widely accepted notion in MMA. There are complaints after every card. Not even just after UFC events, decisions are debated oversees, too. It is very possible that table of three different judges would have given the fight to Rua.
Again, judging is subjective. In other words, judging is the opinion of the judge.
As for everybody who is watching the fight over and over again in slow motion, was the quality of judging so good that a normal human can't be expected to match it without a pen, paper, and three slow motion replays? I highly doubt that. Not with what we have seen in the past.
Everyone who's opinion changed over time from Rua to Machida is basically saying as much. They are acknowledging the ability of the judges to see beyond that of the naked eye. This is especially true if you had to watch the fight again (in slow motion) with a pen and a pad of paper.
The judges didn’t have that benefit, therefore they must be above and beyond the capabilities of the general population to have seen that much detail right away.
If MMA judging is that good, we shouldn't ever question another decision.
The Bottom Line
The “opinion” of the three judges is that Machida won. Nothing more, nothing less. Break it down as many ways as you want, but unless MMA somehow went from having terrible judges to having super judges overnight all the slow motion breakdowns in the world are irrelevant.
There is no standarized point system and I don't think fans want to wait three days for the results to be determined by a computer.
It was a close fight that could have gone either way on the score cards. That’s my opinion anyways, just like it was the opinion of the three judge’s that Machida won.