"I think we have a real problem with judging in MMA" - Joe Rogan
This was not a decision on the level of last month’s Machida v. Rua decision, where one fighter had so clearly done more damage to his opponent that it raised questions about the competency of both the officials scoring the fight and the scoring system itself. Rather, the problem in the scoring of the Couture v. Vera fight was the weight carried by two of the key scoring criterion: damage done and Octagon control. On Saturday in Manchester, England, it appeared that Octagon control was the deciding factor.
It's a shame that the judging even came into question, because I can't help but feel that neither man is in a well defined position. Sure, Couture could be booked against Machida or one of the other top contenders, but did he really prove that he's up to that challenge in the fight with Vera? I really don't think so.
The other side of the coin is that, questionable decision or not, Randy Couture earned a victory in his return to the Light Heavyweight division. This is likely a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Couture’s stock is such that a victory, any victory, should position him as one of the top two or three contenders to Lyoto Machida’s Light Heavyweight Championship. On the other hand, Randy is still a 46-year old fighter coming off a questionable decision against an opponent who many fans wanted to see Couture dominate. Although we may see Couture in the mix as a top contender in his next match, it’s difficult to say whether or not he can legitimately contend in the division. The questions about Couture coming into the fight with Vera have not been sufficiently answered.
What do you think: am I totally wrong about Couture?
As for Vera, I know I'm in the minority on this one, but the loss has me worried for Vera's position in the UFC. I'd like to think that he acquitted himself well enough that even the haters would give him his due, but let's be realistic. While a good showing against an MMA legend should mean something, the fact that Vera is passionately disliked by so many folks is an unfortunate circumstance that both he and the UFC have to deal with. Could that mean Vera's done with the UFC? Hopefully not, but I doubt anyone would be particularly surprised if that turns out to be the case.
"This does nothing to hurt your career," Rogan told Vera in an attempt to console him. That may not be true. The sentiment has always been that Vera, half-Filipino himself, is something of a star amongst the Filipino community. Still, he’s by no means Manny Pacquiao, nor does the UFC appear to have plans to put on an event in the Philippines in the next year. It would seem rather rash to cut Vera after this particular loss, but the fact remains that Vera has lost the fights he’s needed to win to become a contender, and his victories have not won over the fan base at large. It would be hasty to cut Vera after this particular decision, but the UFC hasn’t exactly shied away from making these sorts of personnel decisions in the past.
(art via Heavy.com)