In what will easily go down as the biggest upset of 2010 and quite possibly the biggest upset in UFC history, Frankie "The Answer" Edgar defeated "The Prodigy" BJ Penn by unanimous decision at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
To put Edgar's win in perspective, here's a fun fact. Penn had not lost a fight in the 155-pound division since losing to Jens Pulver by majority on Jan. 11, 2002.
With official scores of 50-45, 48-47, and 49-46, Edgar wasn't the only person to shock the world last night. There were three others that had people putting their amazed/confused faces on. Those three people were the judges.
This isn't the first time judges have managed to confuse us. How do three judges watching the same exact fight score it three different ways?
One judge thought Edgar won all five rounds, one judge thought he won four rounds, and the final judge thought he won three rounds.
The thing that amazes me the most is that while all three judges gave Edgar the clear win, I can't find a single website that agrees with them. Our own Erik Fontanez had Penn up three rounds to none after the third round. Now, unless he gave Frankie a 10-8 round or two, that means he thought Penn won the fight.
According to the all-powerful Fight-Metric report, Penn won the first three rounds and Edgar took the final round. The fourth round was a tie making the scorecard 49-47 Penn. So how exactly could those three judges all pick Edgar, and at the same time completely disagree on what rounds he won and lost?
That question brings me to the point of this article, and into the brain of a 17-year old fight-freak. I'm certain this is the first time you've heard this idea before so try not to sound too shocked.
The UFC needs a new judging system.
Stay with me here, I'm a little rusty at the moment, but I have an idea to pitch. What needs to happen is the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts be reviewed and revised. These are the official rules currently used by state athletic commissions in order for fights to be sanctioned.
That particular rule set dictates that fight rounds must be scored on a 10-point system with each round scored individually. While I believe that part of the system works pretty well, I believe that one thing needs to be added in order to decide a winner. After the final horn, the judges should be given a five-minute discussion period.
In that five-minute period, judges would share their individual scores and any disagreements. This would then lead to one single scorecard holding the agreed upon scores of the judges. It would make the judges into more of a unified jury.
For those of you wondering what would happen if judges couldn't come to a consensus on a particular round, don't worry. I've thought of that too.
For example, if two judges saw the round 10-9 for one fighter, and the other judge thought it was 10-9 for the other fighter, the majority would win and the round would go down as 10-9 for the first fighter.
My system has flaws. I know that.
But the current system leaves too much to be desired. Unfortunately, the odds of the system changing are probably the same as us seeing a rematch between Anderson Silva and Demain Maia.
The only difference being that we actually want to see the first one happen.
Now let me just say, I'm not here to take away from the remarkable performance of Edgar. He showcased his speed, cardio, and an obvious knowledge of Penn. To such an extent that he completely nullified any form of offense Penn could mount.
I won't give you my scores because I have a terrible bias being that I'm from New Jersey and I've never been too big a fan of Penn.
Until we see a change, the fans and fighters will remain confused. Judges will continue to amaze us at their complete lack of agreement with the fighting universe.
Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe we're supposed to be confused so that we can argue on websites and with our friends. Or maybe we're supposed to go the kindergarten route and complain until we get what we want. I'm fine with either one.