Since we'd all be wailing in misery and clacking off scathing criticism on our keyboards if controversial decisions had marred the stellar UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem event, it's only fair that we acknowledge a phenomenal performance by the NSAC judges last night.
It's not uncommon to experience the ominous pangs of uneasiness when the bell rings after a closely contested match and both fighters return to their corners with their arms raised assuredly. That brief span of time when the athletes high-five their team members, don the sponsor gear and reconvene in the center of the cage to await the final announcement can be a tedious nail-biter for viewers.
At UFC 141, the first six fights on the show and seven out of ten overall were decided by the score cards. The judging panel was on point in each and every one.
The only fights that could be considered even remotely controversial were the pair of Spike TV preliminaries: Danny Castillo edged Anthony Njokuani in the evening's only split decision and Ross Pearson was awarded a unanimous decision against Junior Assuncao. While the defeated competitors were understandably unhappy with the results, I was not. MMA will never be exempt from razor-thin fights that could go either way and, therefore, MMA judging will never be perfect. As fans and media, it's fair to expect sensible and relatively conceivable scoring, and that's what we got.
In addition to the judges' consistent accuracy across the board, I might be more impressed by the bold -- yet entirely warranted -- 10-8 scores handed out in Jim Hettes' one-sided shellacking of Nam Phan. As someone who's bickered about the perceived hesitancy to scrawl 10-8 scores in the past, I was especially pleased when all three officials assessed the first round as 10-8 with two seeing the third round the same way.
Just as the bitter aftertaste of sketchy judging can overshadow a solid show, it's no coincidence that a premiere event with a 70% decision rate can still be entertaining and exciting when it's coupled with competent judging -- just like UFC 141 was.