Never once after Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks fought did I say, post, or believe that ‘Robbie Lawler was robbed’. I did however post to my Facebook and Twitter what I felt were inadequacies and flaws in the MMA judging process. Despite the great fight that unfolded before our eyes on March 15, 2014, fans were left with, once again, questions relating to what exactly judges are looking for in a fight.
The first thing I thought when the fight ended was, “I have this 3-2 for Lawler. However in the world of judging, this will be 3-2 Hendricks.” Hendricks won that fight by volume punching and living by the saying, “Take em down… Win the round”. It’s the GSP School of Accumulation and Takedowns that seems to dictate judging these days, not actual damage done in a fight.
To this day, my friend Ryan Loco and I always joke by saying, “Look at his face!” These were the words of BJ Penn cornerman Matt Lindland, after BJ smoked GSP in their first fight. He ultimately lost that fight because GSP got consecutive takedowns and control. Ironically, when Hendricks fought GSP, he said he felt he won the fight because of the damage he did to GSP should be weighed more heavily than the pitter patter jabs of GSP that did no damage. The same thing that Hendricks said had worked against him vs GSP, won him the fight over Lawler. Is your mind blown yet?
From the garbage, unsure, and inaccurate mind of the judges today, Hendricks won his fight against Lawler. However, Lalwer beat the stuffing out of Hendricks, which shows that in MMA, you can get your ass kicked and still win. Of course, Lawler is very blasé about the whole thing, as he is in every other aspect of life. Never once did he say, “I thought I won because…”. It’s a sad reality in our sport that you can do the bare minimum in a fight, get busted up, yet still do enough to win AND become a champion.
I don’t want to take anything away from Hendricks because he has done everything right and is a genuinely likeable guy. This doesn’t have anything to do with Lawler or Hendricks, rather the system that they and thousands of other fighters compete in. There really is too broad of criteria for judges to score a fight off of.
This is directly taken from the UFC’s official website:
• Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the ring/fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.
• Effective striking is judged by determining the total number of legal strikes landed by a contestant.
• Effective grappling is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active threatening guard.
• Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike.
• Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.
• A round is to be scored as a 10-10 round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows clear dominance in a round.
• A round is to be scored as a 10-9 round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, grappling and other maneuvers.
• A round is to be scored as a 10-8 round when a contestant overwhelmingly dominates by striking or grappling in a round.
• A round is to be scored as a 10-7 round when a contestant totally dominates by striking or grappling in a round.
There is not a single mention of ‘damage done’ in the aforementioned rules. It would appear that you can win a fight by running away, getting a takedown, and passing guard. These rules take the fight out of fighting. When we all get pissed off and start yelling that the fix was in, clearly it wasn’t. It isn’t about the fighter who beats UP his opponent, rather the fighter who just beats his opponent.
So with all that has been laid out here, it is easy to see how Hendricks won rounds 1, 2, and 5. He was landing leg kicks and throwing combos that Lawler blocked with his forearms, yet they were still considered points. As cliché as it sounds, Hendricks won the fight, but Lawler won the war.
Lastly on an unrelated note, yet totally related; Douglas Crosby. He is MMA’s Joey Crawford from the NBA. Never has a judge made a fight unrelated to them, totally all about them. There is lousy judging every weekend and even if you disagree with some calls, you can usually make sense of a lousy decision, at some point. Crosby, who notoriously scored Penn vs Edgar as a shutout for Edgar, went on the internet after and blasted everyone but himself for being the idiots in that decision. He struck again this past Saturday when he scored the Hendricks vs Lawler fight. Rd 1: 10-9 Hendricks. Rd 2: 10-8 Hendricks. Rd 3: 10-9 Lawler. Rd 4 10-9: Lawler. Round 5: 10-10.
Looking at those numbers should make any MMA fan, furious. Round 2 was razor close until the very end. I had it tied until Lawler landed a shot at the bell which knocked the paint off of Johny’s car that was parked at home. I gave the edge to Lawler because of that. However, Crosby scored it 10-8 for Hendricks?!? 10-8 scores are reserved for rounds where a fighter is on the brink of defeat or totally dominated. At no point in the 2nd round did Hendricks have Lawler in any type of trouble and was the most even round of the fight. Then, he scored round 5 as a 10-10 tie. This was another close round where, as judged by the rules above, Hendricks won with his last takedown. Crosby is a Megalomaniac with a God complex singing ‘You can’t touch this’. He is a liability and shouldn’t be allowed to ever work a fight again. I never say this kind of thing about someone, unless they are really in the wrong. Even more ridiculous was, with how wrong he scored it, he still came to the same score as the other judges.
MMA is a mess.
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