This past Saturday night at UFC 166, we were treated to an amazing card filled with top quality fights. Unfortunately, it was marred by questionable officiating, both from the judges and the referees. Among those affected by the judge's scorecards was Sarah Kaufman.
While her fight with Jessica Eye was a certified barn burner, with the rounds being close, the contingency of fans, media and other pro fighters that thought she beat Jessica is a large one. I spoke with Sarah earlier today who discussed her frustration with the decision loss, reclaiming her losses and her thoughts on this season's TUF. Here's what she had to say:
It's always hard when you're in a fight because you know what you're landing, and you know what they're landing. You know whether the damage is hurting you, and a lot of times, people on the outside don't. They just don't have that insight because they're not you.
The first round was close and pretty even for the most part. The judges could probably go either way with it. Second round, I definitely felt like I came on a lot and landed some very strong strikes, controlled the center of the octagon and kind of pushed her around a little bit. She threw one jab that turned down a little bit and kind of hit the ridge of my cheekbone, so right away I felt that mouse up.
You have to always be concerned that the appearance of damage sways judges. Again, I felt confident with that round, but my face looks damaged. I mark up easily; I'm very pale, everyone knows it. In the third, I really turned it on. I definitely wobbled her quite a few times; kind of had her on skates in there. I opened up big in the third, and I should have done that earlier on.
In that third round, I thought, ‘I could finish her here. I know she's tough, and she's put up a great fight so far.' It was time for me to let loose and have fun, and that's what I did. At the end of the fight, I was really happy with my performance.
As soon as the cage door opened, Joe Silva came right over to me, shook my hand and congratulated me. It was the intention of ‘You looked great, congratulations on the win' kind of thing. He didn't say those words, but that was the impression that I got. I was very aware of the first person to get to me and congratulate me; it was Joe Silva, and it was before the cut man even got to me. I was very aware of the time frame of it.
I felt really good, and I could see that she looked defeated. I was so confident in that third round. That sealed the deal for me. Then they started reading the cards. They read 29-28 for Jessica, then 29-28 for me, and then when they read that third one, I was honestly in disbelief. I was pretty upset. I felt like I'd won. The crowd thought I won. Almost everyone thought that I won.
Overall, I don't think we can be unhappy with the fight, because yes, I could have done more, or I should have finished her, but I found out that one of the judges scored her the third round. You know, I feel like something needs to be done. I feel like I won the second and the third, for sure. For the judge to give me the second round and not the third...something is wrong with the judging in that sense.
It mars the fight for both Jessica and myself. Honestly, Jessica came out and fought hard. It was a great fight. To have it marred by something like that...you want to win knowing the decision was just. I feel bad for her in that sense, in that she has the win, yet the majority of people don't think she won. It's kind of a misrepresentation for myself and for her.
If there was a way to turn it into a no contest and then have us fight again, just to be clear, I would be okay with that, even though I think that I won the fight. The thing is, you can't be too sour grapes about it. It's a fight, and you don't want to be pouting and stamping your feet, but you do want what's right and what's just.
You know, I feel very differently about each loss. To be honest, I don't feel like I lost on Saturday, so I'm not feeling like I have to come back from some devastating loss. I don't consider it a loss in terms of how I fought. I consider it more like a political mishap. I do want it back, because it deserves to be a win. Monetarily, it affects me a lot. I'm only getting half of what I could have potentially made, and that's a substantial amount, especially having two fight camps, back to back. That's a big hit. Also, I shouldn't be 16-3, I should be 17-2. It doesn't feel like a loss, but it leaves a bitter taste.
The Ronda fight irks me to this day. It's the first time that I went in and didn't perform whatsoever. That's honestly the loss that I want to erase the most. It's not at all a good representation of who I am as a fighter. Ronda fought exactly how she wanted to, and you can't take that away from her, but I didn't fight at all, and that's what bothers me the most. I didn't use any of my potential.
Then my first loss, to Marloes, was a great fight. We both did some really good things. I had the momentum going my way and I made a stupid error, a bad judgment call, and she capitalized on it and did really well. That one I'm more okay with than the others. I fought well, but made stupid errors that hopefully I won't make again.
TUF Season 18
I haven't watched them as they happen, but I've kept up with the season somewhat. I haven't watched any of the men's fights; I've just been focused on trying to keep up with the ladies, because it's relevant to my division.
I think that it's hard to be in the house, first off. I don't think that it's an easy thing to do. Certain personalities come out more when you're put in that kind of stressful situation. Of course, there's the editing where they're choosing what they're showing and kind of manipulating certain scenarios into something bigger than they are.
The coaches aren't in the house. They're just coaching. I think that Miesha has come off very well for herself. This is not a slight to her, but I don't think she always comes off as the most sophisticated or professional person at times. She will retort and make statements without thinking about them, but here, I think that she's played it smart.
Ronda is very emotional and she does kind of have that bratty edge to her, where she says what she thinks all the time and seemingly takes offense to a lot of things. She's not coming off very professionally. She's coming off as a very young, almost teenaged girl, where she's actually 26 years old.
I know that a lot of pressure is being put on Ronda to live up to all the hype, and so far, I think that she's done it quite gracefully, but we're starting to see a little bit more of who she is as a person, and I think that it's not coming across as well as it could, for sure. She definitely has a lot of attitude.
As a coach, you're going to have people win and you're going to have people lose, and I don't think giving someone the finger or the cold shoulder or stomping out in front of them is the right way to deal with it. As the representation of the head of a team, you don't want your team members thinking that is good sportsmanship.
In a situation like that, even though there's cameras all around, you have to be aware of what you're giving off, and it is your image. I'm not saying to make it into something that you're not, but there are certain things that I would never say outside of a close circle of friends. Some of those things, I do feel are quite juvenile. You're a coach and a title holder in the UFC. You need to grow up a little bit and pull up your socks; represent yourself however you want, but also so that people watching can respect you as a human being.
You can follow Sarah via her Twitter account, @MMASarah