In anticipation of there being many articles surrounding who actually won the fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard in their second battle, which was for the lightweight championship, I will merely give a brief opinion before delving into a much more important issue.
Some think Maynard did plenty in the first round to simply hang in there the other four and milk a split decision victory. Others, like myself, say that Edgar's heart proved to rival that of Clay Guida, and he clearly outstruck Maynard for the majority of the fight and deserved the victory.
Apparently Fightmetric says Maynard deserved the decision due to the power of the strikes he gave Edgar in round 1, so even though I don't think it deserves such merit, somehow this will provide the making for a Machida vs. Shogun I type of debate. Check the site out, though, to see the actual frequency and success rate of Edgar's striking and nullification of Maynard's grappling if you want to see it from my perspective.
Rather than this being an article over who more clearly won the fight, though, I wish to bring up the purpose of the judges altogether.
The point of having judges is to make decisions round-to-round, and in the case of a fight going the entire time allotted, they add up their round scores and weigh the total score for one fighter versus the total score for the other. Then again, there is always an official decision despite the outcome of the fight, which also feeds into my discourse.
So when exactly is judging meant to be useful? One might initially think when the fight is too close to call, but that will inevitably leave 50 percent of the fans disappointed with the other 50 percent unsure.
Judging is only useful in the case of having a time limit. Even then, is it really useful, or is it simply a sufficient tool for bring about a rational end to unnatural conditions? With decisions like Edgar vs. Maynard II, it seems that judging can't even do its job when it comes to adding up the scores after the time has expired.
Basically, by adding in an impure variable into one-on-one, unarmed combat, you begin a slippery slope by adding other unnatural variables to compensate for the initial one. Case-in-point: rounds inspire time limits, and time limits demand judges.
Judges demand a commission...a commission that goes unchecked despite fans' grievances of the staff's apparent incompetence in choosing sufficient judges and ensuring valid rules (e.g., the 12-6 elbow is a manifestation of such incompetence). And there you have it, the makeup for failure. Hence, the lightweight championship bout featured in UFC 125.
We MMA fans sit and watch 25 minutes of exciting action in the first lightweight championship since BJ Penn's involvement in the division only to end with a draw? This is a fight that should have gone to the finish, and in the old days, it would have.
When the UFC exposed America, and much of the rest of the world, to Vale Tudo, viewers always saw fights go to the finish. There were no rounds, no judges and no time limits. Yes, sometimes the fights were boring (e.g., Gracie vs. Shamrock in their superfight), but the refreshing part was that there was always a clear winner.
Nowadays, one can only hope to see a fight finished in the lighter divisions (ahem Edgar, Maynard and GSP). Nevertheless, even though the fighters should always be looking for the finish, the current system doesn't mandate that they do. So can you blame them for finding alternative ways to win?
Professional athletes are smart, skillful individuals. They are going to find any way they can to stay at the top of the heap, sometimes even if those methods are illegal, so one can't blame them for finding legitimate, rule-abiding ways to win. So where does the problem lie?
In the system. When did Vale Tudo (translated in Portuguese as being "anything goes") grow to include all these rules? The commission has ruined the purity of the sport by incorporating rounds, time limits and judges, and oftentimes the outcome of fights are dictated by how competent a referee is at any given time.
What we love about MMA is the purity of it in comparison to other sports. Whereas other sports determine who would be the best warrior in battle. MMA determines who is the best warrior in battle. With rounds, time limits, subjective judging and standing people up when the fight is "going nowhere," the purity of the sport, the very thing that makes it the most unique sport in the world.
Let's bring MMA back to its roots of purity.