Amidst the confusion, disagreements, and palpable frustration following the Diaz v. Condit decision, a recent, somewhat controversial decision lingered, unnoticed by most, but it temporarily distorted my view of judges’ role in the whole scheme of MMA.
I may be looking into this too much, but here it is anyways.
UFC on FOX 2 – Sonnen v. Bisping – a controversial decision in favor of Sonnen, followed by Sonnen quoting himself as saying "You might have" to Bisping’s "I think I gotcha." After this decision, I clearly remember having the thought that perhaps judges were slowly, deliberately, almost instinctively, changing their role in the world of MMA in response to a stimulus in the MMA environment – that stimulus being the long-awaited Sonnen v. Silva rematch. Yes, I’ll admit that it was a naive thought – that judges had somehow become conscious of the impact of their decisions on future matchups.
It may veer towards pro wrestling for some, but I thought that I was witnessing a chameleon (oh look he said the word that’s in the title!) like change in MMA judging that would result in some favorability in certain instances. This new judge would be aware of what future matchups were being talked about, who needed to win to get those matchups realized – and when a round was so close that one could easily make a good case for either fighter, why not give it to the fighter that needs to win to make those matchups that will not only make the fans happy, but ALSO move the sport forward with exciting fights that will attract new fans!
Some fans might have had this subconsciously imbedded in their heads when they found themselves frustrated that the judges would give it to Condit when the fight could’ve been given to the fighter that would’ve produced a potential FOTSH (yes, the SH stands for sport’s history) with Georges. I know that Diaz just tested positive for trees, but that doesn’t change the fact that the judges at that fateful night at UFC 143 could’ve taken a step forward towards becoming a shade of fan friendly.