Obligatory Objectivity and the Pretence of Reason
As someone who has spent their life espousing logic, rationality and reason, what I am about to say is somewhat incongruous to the nature of my being. But it is a truth that I have come to hold ever closer with age, that existence is never what it should be and that it is also never a certainty; by which I mean "That what happened happened and couldn't have happened any other way", except maybe it didn't and maybe it could have; That our perceptions shape all things and that with the shifting of those perceptions so does the fabric of our individual existence change, past, present and future. So things are not fixed, history can and has and will be rewritten with our shifting perceptions and any notion of an absolute, unimpinged, perfect understanding or empirical truth shall never hold longer than those who would speak it still do.
All of which leads us to the judging of round 1. I don't need to tell you what fight. Objectivity is a fine ideal. It's a comforting thought, as are most fallacies. "Let's be objective about this." "Let's look at things as they are, without our preconceptions or preferences getting in the way of the truth". In other words, let's turn the sound down, watch the fight on mute; Watch the round six or seven times; Count the strikes, clean, clean, graze, miss, clean. Watch the replays; score minute by minute; pull up fight metric. Sterilize your mind and experience the cold digital reality of clockwork lights and shadow.
The first obvious thought that comes to mind when I hear suggestions like this as the only and absolute way in which a fight should be judged or considered is, do judges work like that? Should judges work like that? Are you going to trust Saul D'Amato or Cecil Peoples more if we lock them in a sound proof both and pump HD video footage with instant replays, picture in picture and a live fight metric update? Or even more significant, does a fight exist like that? Or is the reality created by the convenience of digital technology and the application of our subjectively contrived methodology of objectivity a 'truer' representation of what actually happened than the eyes, ears, hearts and minds of three judges, two announcers, a stadium full of people and countless thousands watching live?
Yes emotions, preconceptions, Rogan and preference all colour our perceptions of reality, much like the literal rose tinting of the UV shielding lens I wore throughout my youth; red skies each and every day. But are we to believe that by stripping away every possible trace of colour that we are left with something more? Was I more misinformed on the state of the world by seeing red than I would have been by seeing in black and white? Is one really better than the other? Objectively.. that is..
And so the end game of my preceding logic is such that I must condemn even myself. For when I say that Johnny Hendriks won that fight, cleanly and clearly, I do so from a vantage point of pure subjectivity. From a position of prejudice and preference; against point fighting and for significant damage. But the real truth of the matter here is that all of our analysis, regardless of where it stems from, how it was obtained, or the rigour involved in its application, is subjective. Because there is no cosmic measurement against which one can accurately measure the significance of this kick to the body against this knee to the thigh. There's no absolute way to quantify the value of any one action over another.
People love science. And I think that we like to think on this artistry of violence as a science of sorts. Technical and intricate with infinite potential for complexity and interpretation. And I think that this leads many of us to attempt to do justice to this science of violence by approaching its analysis in a scientific fashion. But I think that we would do well to remember that all that glistens is not gold and that science is about far more than the clinical and the objectively measurable. The attempt to boil down an epic clash of titans to a break down of significant strikes and top control time is a disservice to the fighters and potentially just as much of a distortion of reality as Rogan's ridiculous hyperbole.