The "Robbery" Plague in Boxing and MMA

A few years back I didn't endear myself to a lot of MMA fans and writers by coming out in support of the 10 point must system.  I still feel that it is the best way for transparent, honest scoring in MMA but that is neither here nor there for the point of this article.  What does matter is that the system is what is in place and it has to be understood by someone before they can argue about the outcome of decisions.

Brickhaus over at BadLeftHook wrote a piece in response the outcries of "Robbery!" after Miguel Cotto was awarded a split decision victory over Joshua Clottey.  It has become such a common thing for fans of both boxing and MMA to claim that the losing fighter was robbed in every close fight.  Brickhaus does a great job of explaining the difference between a close decision fans wanted to go the other way and a "robbery."  He says:

What is a robbery in boxing?  Here's a hint - it's not a decision that you merely disagree with.  It's a decision that is impossible; that there's no reasonable way the judges could have scored the fight in favor of the fighter who actually won.

Obviously this translates to MMA the same way.  A fight like Bisping/Hamill is a great example.  I score that fight for Bisping every time I see it, FightMetric also scores it for Bisping...etc.  But people will constantly bring it up as a robbery when it is actually a fight that legitimately could go either way.

Brickhaus goes on to explain 4 major scoring fallacies such as:

Scoring fallacy #1 - "Fighter A can't have won, he got beat up, and Fighter B looked like he just walked out of the shower."

Real-life non-robbery example: Kessler-Andrade.  This argument is so silly when you think of how many times a clear winner has looked worse for wear than the loser, yet the argument comes up again and again.  The fact is, some guys just get more beat up looking than others in a boxing match.  Arturo Gatti and Vito Antuofermo would probably get cut from someone else's stubble rubbing against him, yet they won their fair share of fights when they looked like murder victims at the end of the fight.  Also, even if someone takes a real licking in one round, that's still one round.  If they go on to win the other 11 rounds, then it's a blowout win, and there's just no argument that can be made that the more beat up boxer won the fight.

This is just such a great piece that really translates to MMA scoring perfectly.  I really want to encourage everyone to go take a look. But the main thing I hope the piece does is encourage people to stop calling every single decision they don't agree with a robbery.  This, of course, won't happen as fans are generally too emotional in their response to events.  But still, it is something that needs to be absorbed and understood by fans of both MMA and boxing.

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