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UFC 129 Results: Great Judging Should Be Applauded Sometimes

(Photo from Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
(Photo from Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

As your resident WEC homer, I was elated when I saw Ben Henderson's hand get raised last night at UFC 129.  He is one of the big three (along with Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone) that face the real responsibility of showing that WEC guys can hang at 155 in the UFC, and two out of three have come up big so far.  Don't worry though, this post isn't about the WEC.  It's about how hard it is to judge a fight.  30-27 across the board?  Color me surprised.

Mark Bocek fought a marvelous fight last night.  He had a plethora of takedowns, a deep anaconda choke, a dangerous guillotine, and a strange leg lock that looked like he could have blown out Bendo's knee if he just leaned forward.  He also landed a lot of quality shots standing and did a good job pretty much everywhere.  It was an admirable performance, yet he lost every round on every card.  And it was absolutely the right call.

After watching the fight again, the only round that I could see Bocek winning was the first.  Either way though, what I said to my friends after the 2nd was "I have it 20-18 Henderson, but I bet the judges have it 20-18 Bocek or 19-19".  And after the fight was over, I genuinely thought Bocek might win a 29-28 split or UD.  30-27 times three shocked me.  And upon reflection, that kind of saddens me.

Without getting into the specifics of the judging "crisis" in MMA,  I find it a bit pathetic that I have to score a fight two ways now - the way I see it, and the way I think a judge will see it.  The takedown is king to a lot of judges, and if Fighter A puts Fighter B on his back a couple of times, it seems to negate all of Fighter B's offensive output.  In this particular case, Bocek actually threatened on the ground so it's a little bit different, but let's face it - Ben Henderson's offense should have been worth more than Mark Bocek's.  In every round.  And surprisingly enough (at least to me) - it WAS worth more to the three people that matter.

As fans, we love to blow up at judges and their supposed mistakes.  Twitter was on fire after it was announced that Douglas Crosby scored the Aldo/Hominick fight 50-43.  It turns out that it was just read wrong and he actually had it 48-45, but a lot of people probably still don't know that.  Instead of harping on that kind of stuff, why dont we focus on some positives for once?  How about, just this once, we give some credit where credit is due? 

Douglas Crosby, Sal D'Amato, and Claude Paquette - thank you for doing a great job in the Bocek/Henderson fight last night.  Rest assured that your work is appreciated, even if its only by me.


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