Over on the MMA section of ESPN.com, reporter Franklin McNeil (no relation) lays out a piece about the judges who scored the Machida - Rua bout at UFC 104 doing their jobs to the best of their ability. Here's a notable pullout from the article
"Where a judge is seated at a particular time during the action must be taken into account. Judges have the best seats in the house, but they don't always have a clear line of vision"
Now I've been sat next to judges whilst shooting UFC events - literally elbow-to-elbow with them - and have first hand experience of the issues that they face when trying to read a fight.
There have been a few occasions where I've thought a fight went in favour of one guy (based on my vantage point) only to be surprised when the scores came in.
If I've simply shooting a fight and thinking "Hey, this guy's got in it the bag" based on what I saw... well the same must hold true of the judges. How else to you explain split decisions or differences in how many rounds are scored for which fighter?
I'll tell you what it's not: it's not incompetence, it's not fight-fixing and it's not corruption.
Read the article, think a little and then hopefully it might clear up some of the trash talk that's been going on about the judges in the Machida - Rua fight.
Try doing their job from their vantage point. It ain't easy.