UFC 104 Wrap-Up: A Thought on the Need to "Truly Beat the Champion"

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Before I start let me go on record as saying that after watching the fight I did score it three rounds to two for Lyoto Machida.  But this isn't about my scorecard.

Across the Internet I'm seeing a lot of people throw out the idea that you need to "truly beat the champ" to take away the belt.  This is honestly one of the dumbest ideas in combat sports.  It has a long history of usage in boxing as well as MMA and it is absolutely moronic.

Sports are set up with defined rules that need to be applied across all contests exactly the same.  The idea that a champion should be given the benefit of the doubt in a title defense is the exact opposite of the true spirit of what a sport is.  If the rules are set up so that the winner of a round is awarded 10 points and the loser 9 or less no matter how narrow the margin, then that rule should apply the same to the evening's curtain jerker as it does to a main event title fight.  As a matter of fact, one would assume the rules would be applied with even greater weight in a title fight for the very fact of not cheapening a title.  If the challenger wins a round by the narrowest of margins...he still won the round.  After all, shouldn't the very fact that a man has won a championship mean that he does not need to be afforded a head start?

In the interest of avoiding turning this into a full blown rant I'll leave it at this: if a fighter wins a round he wins a round, if he wins a fight he wins a fight.  Harm can be done to our sport when we start letting ideas like a titled playing field favoring one fighter gain any legitimacy.

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