During the UFC Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale, the first UFC featherweight fight was featured. It was between Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia.
Despite the obvious one-sided nature of the fight in Phan's favor, the judges happened to see things differently. Garcia walked away with a split decision, much to the dismay of the crowd and especially commentator Joe Rogan. That's when Rogan decided to shine.
Rogan said exactly what everyone's been thinking for a long time: The Nevada State Athletic Commission judge selection needs to change.
With many examples of insufficient judging, decision victories have seemed to be nothing more than a coin flip lately, one of the biggest misses being the first match between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. It's "victories" like those of Garcia and Machida that are really losses for MMA as a sport.
After Garcia's split decision victory was announced, Rogan emphatically stated to viewers that the UFC has no choice in who judges the UFC matches, and that poor decisions like Phan vs. Garcia really hurt MMA.
Rogan said, "It's gross. You should be able to leave it in the hands of the judges. You should be able to just fight."
Are the current Commission selected judges ruining MMA as a sport?
He continued, saying, "Everyone keeps saying, 'Oh, the UFC is corrupt.' We have no say whatsoever who judges these fights. And, you know, Keith Kizer [Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director] has denied there's an issue. I think there's a huge, huge issue and they need to clean house."
While I don't necessarily agree that fighters should feel they can rely on a decision victory to be the same as finishing a fight, Rogan made a great point. The fighter that has won the majority of the fight should actually be the victor at the end of the fight.
Rogan said, "There's a few very good judges surrounded by a bunch of incompetent morons that know absolutely nothing about the sport. And they need to do something about that, because it's ruining MMA and it's making people think that this sport is corrupt, and it has nothing to do with corruption. It's sheer, complete, total incompetence."
And what did Rogan say could be done about it?
"So folks, send emails, get online, write blogs, do what you gotta do, we can't do anything."
And there you have it. Get online, complain to your friends, family and fans everywhere, create a stir and demand that the judges that are selected by the State Athletic Commissions have at least a few years of real, hands-on MMA experience.
Of course, there's no guarantee that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will listen at first, but if there's one thing consistent with governments all over the world, it's that they are very sensitive to criticism.
The government's involvement in a sport as pure as MMA can only work to hinder its raw nature, so we might as well have experienced people that, as Rogan might say, aren't incompetent morons. For example, as Commission selected judge Cecil Peoples once said in response to fan criticism regarding one of his horrible decisions, "If you don't like it, you can go to hell."
This is the response we can expect in criticizing the Athletic Commission decisions. But remember to stay steadfast because, as Rogan pointed out, if things keep going this way, people will begin to recognize MMA for its corruption and not its purity.
Thank you, Joe Rogan, for broadcasting what everyone is thinking. Now everyone, let's get the word out. If we're gong to have our sport monitored, limited and scrutinized with pointless minutiae, let's have it done on our terms.