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Edgar vs. Henderson was scored by PRIDE rules, which are pretty much Stockton rules

UFC 144’s championship fight between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar was close and controversial enough that the automated robots behind Compustrike and Fightmetric can’t even agree on who did more. Depending on how much oil was in your automaton’s gears last night, Henderson landed either 10 fewer strikes than Edgar or 19 more. Edgar landed four (or five) more takedowns than Henderson, but didn’t attempt any submissions, whereas Henderson had three guillotine attempts.

But determining the outcomes of fights based on raw numbers has as many gaping pitfalls as a pornstar after a gangbang. Even if machines attempt to differentiate between pitter-patting, pussyfooting, and “significant strikes,” relying on raw numbers and crystallized ideas of what different techniques are worth is a lot like paying set fees for oral, anal, and DP. Even if you try to sell every scene for the same amount of money, not as many people will buy it if the execution is poor or if the performer is ugly. But that hasn’t stopped UFC judges from basing countless decisions on simple numbers in the past. Luckily, the judges last night remembered that there is a better way to do things.

If we blow the dust off the PRIDE rulebook, we can see that fights were judged as a whole rather than by rounds, and their top two criteria for judging, in order, were effort to finish the fight by KO or submission (“ippon”) and damage done to the opponent. This system has almost everything in common with Stockton Rules, which, contrary to popular belief, have nothing to do with wetlands jurisdiction unless the wetness comes from the blood, sweat, and diarrhea of fighter exertion. Under Stockton Rules, proposed by the Diaz brothers, the loser is the guy who looks more jacked up afterwards, and the winner is the guy who would have won if the fight would have continued forever. There may be slight differences between the two systems, but the agreement about winners under the two systems must be over 98% (source: my ass). If sexually repressed, boring Japanese people can come up with essentially the same idea as the Diaz brothers, there must be something to this.

(more after the jump)
So I was pleased when Chris Cariaso got the judges’ nod over Takeya Mizugaki despite short-fingered henchmen lingering in the background. Even though he spent lots of time on the bottom, Cariaso actually tried things from there. It would have been easy for the judges to put on their Ryan Bader ASU wrestling beanies and give the decision to Mizugaki, but they decided instead to weight that forgotten quality called “quality.” When the main event rolled around, the judges also decided to remember that word “effective” that’s been lying buried in the armpit of the UFC judging rules for a few years now.

Sure, the argument can be made that Edgar landed more strikes and takedowns, but he also fought a Frankie Edgar fight. Edgar is a great fighter, but he has the longest average bout length in UFC history for a reason. He throws a million punches, but they rarely land with the sort of power that could knock out anyone but Ken Shamrock. He takes down opponents quickly and effortlessly, but he never does damage from the top and never goes for submissions. He has only achieved finishes in 25% of his UFC fights, a figure eclipsed by one Matt Veach, who did more damage from shocking people by making it into a UFC 144 commercial than he did in his UFC fights.

Ben Henderson may not have the work rate of Frankie Edgar, but god damnit, he comes into the octagon to f*ck his opponent up. His single upkick that destroyed Edgar’s nose did more effective damage and came closer to finishing than everything Edgar did during the whole fight combined. He understands that real fighting does not use the video game scoring system of Olympic boxing. And his samurai spirit, of course, comes from the fact that he is Asian. Where he comes from, just like in Stockton, California, saying that pure punching volume should win decisions over real effectiveness ” target=”_blank”>will get you slapped.

  • matthewpolly

    Word up! In a close fight, it should go to the person who does more damage. MMA isn’t point-fighting karate for a reason.

  • Reverend Clint

    i prefer the pride rule that first and foremost trying to finish is king. Im sick of guys skating by with shit takedowns and guida punches, ie all flash but no spark. Watching Edgar fight is like watching pro wrestling… nobody is really gonna get hurt except by accident

  • Letibleu

    i read all that to get to the slap link. awsome. Like a happy ending!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11L1zBav9aA

  • dick

    No, a happy ending is when you get a handjob in a massage parlor. The Nick Diaz “get slapped” remix video is just truth handed down straight from Jesus himself.

  • glassjawsh

    everything you say is stupid all the time. so I was shocked that somewhere in this incoherent jumble of word vomit (‘bleep bloop the judges didn’t use the unified rules when they judged these fights…barf!’ which would be totes unethical not yo mention completely fucking retarded) there was a valid point. whatever nick diaz does is awesome, always. dap for that at least

  • Grappo

    Bendo whooped that ass

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  • Col

    Diaz videos quality almost as good as dubstep cat.

    I don’t know y people are saying it was a close fight, Henderson smashed him to pieces, Edgar’s pitty patter bats ain’t shit n aldo will fuk him up

  • iamphoenix

    awesome leto

  • Symbul

    I think the ‘controversy’ largely stems from Edgar’s takedowns. I didn’t rate them much at all since Bendo got up immediately every time and was never in any danger but a lot of people (and judges, usually) think they’re the biggest deal ever.

  • Redping

    I have no idea where you’re getting crack from that’s so good it makes you think Chris Cariaso won that fight, but I’d like some.

  • Oontyex

    posts like this are why i love fightlinker, stuff where a fighter is trying to go in the direction of ending a fight should be the only stuff that matters. None of this ’10 seconds left, better get a takedown to win the round’ bullshit, or for that matter ‘the best defense to getting kneed in the face is touching your toes’. If it does no damage and there is no threat, i dont see why it should even be factored in when scoring the round. Look at bendo after the fight, he looked like he hadnt fought yet, and franky looked all mashed up. It seems like a real stretch to argue any of frankys strikes or his grapplings was ‘effective’ in a fighting sense.

  • CAP

    All Bendo. I actually agreed with the judges cards for once. Bendo/Pettis II. Get ready to see that kick a thousand more times.

  • Blackula Jonez

    I think Frankie hits hard enough, he did KO Gray Maynard. The problem with Bendo is that not only do I think he has a better chin he also doesn’t stand there to get hit.

    Frankie didn’t have a huge speed advantage, even when he cut angles/used footwork he wasn’t landing 2/3 punch combos on the regular, in his last 4 fights Edgar has had the benefit of being the faster guy and that wasn’t the case in Japan.

    I don’t even put too much stock in the takedowns due to how fast Bendo got back up. I would have liked an immediate rematch if Frankie hasn’t had so many of those already.

    Bendo vs Pettis II will be a glorious night of mma at the highest competitive level.

  • CAP

    I almost typed this earlier but oh god please not another Edgar rematch. I’ve been seeing that idea get thrown around again. It was a good fight but these 2 out of 3 title defenses need to stop.

  • Blackula Jonez

    Word Cap, he totally deserves an instant rematch because of how close the fight was but you can’t keep giving the champion two tries to defend his belt against the same opponent.

  • Grappo

    The fight wasn’t really close enough (or controversial at all) to warrant a rematch imo.  It was close in that it was a competitive fight and not a blowout, but not close in that I easily gave Bendo 4 rounds and can see him getting all 5.  He beat and bullied Edgar pretty handily in my view. 

  • CAP

    ^I fully agree Grapps but there seem to be a lot of people out there saying they had Edgar winning which I just don’t understand. Close but not close enough for a rematch in my view.

  • frickshun

    Black & Cap–>the rematches were b/c everyone couldn’t accept that Frankie didn’t lose, let alone win (BJ fight). So now that he lost what **I** consider a very close fight, I damn sure think he deserves a rematch.

    FUCK THE HATERS!!

  • Jarman

    No way edgar was winning that fight, and I’m not thinking a rematch would go any different. What’s the point? Time to cut down a weightclass…..or two, when aldo pwns him. Although a matchup with cruz is a nightmare of frenetic non-finishing.

  • CAP

    I could get pumped for an Edgar/Pettis fight for #1 contender and let lil Diaz get a shot if he beats J Miller.

    Pettis, Diaz and Edgar are the only people “in the mix” since Bendo just raped Miller.

  • Reverend Clint

    Let edgar fight somebody else plzzz

  • G Funk

    ‘lil fan boyz hurt that Joyzee didn’t win. It wasn’t a close fight and doesn’t deserve a rematch. Edgar got spanked.

  • Oontyex

    at no point at all in the fight did bendo seem in any danger of getting hurt ever.

    franky is in the same situation at d cruz, a points game will get you a W if neither of you do any damage because they cant catch you. it wont win fans, but pat n run win against nothing.

    problem is, against a super athletic n fast guy, only 1 person in that fight was doing any damage. very very clear winner, please no rematch.

  • Weiss

    It seems that there will always be controversy in fighting but when they are close it can be hard to decide who really won unless you are one of those people who always think it should be your favorite.

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      Fighting has a lot of rules that may not make sense to a lot of people playing office pools but then there are those who really know what’s up and how to call it properly.

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