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Shogun/Machida judge switches his winner to Shogun

Those of you who wanted to dismiss Shogun/Machida as unworthy of a Worstie nomination for Worst Decision, check this out: one of the judges who originally scored it for Machida has come out and admitted Shogun should have won.

The most vocal is veteran official Nelson “Doc” Hamilton. Hamilton was one of the three judges who controversially scored that fight 48-47 in favor of Machida. Yet after watching tape of the fight, Hamilton now believes Rua was the winner.

“There was a round in that fight [Round 4] where my line of sight while they were standing was blocked,” said Hamilton, who feels TV monitors for judges would solve the problem. “Because of the angle where most of the round was fought, I couldn’t see the punches and whether they were landing. If the fight had been on the ground, I could look at the big screens, but this was a fight where the blows were coming one at a time and you don’t want to look away and miss an important blow.”

When Hamilton saw the fight again, he noted that viewers saw Round 4 from a completely different perspective that he did. He also added that the live commentary may have swayed viewers into thinking Rua won decisively. So, based on what he couldn’t see from his cageside vantage point, he believes Rua won the round.

Doc goes on to say he and the rest of the Keystone Kops crew judging fights feel pretty limited by the current scoring system and proposes a half-point solution that was brought up right after the Shogun/Machida situation.

Keith Kizer’s response to the recommendation is the same kind of straw man you hear when talking about gay marriage: if we let the gays get hitched, then it will obviously lead to people marrying goats, pigs, and various other farm animals:

“The problem is you will start getting arguments about a 10-9 vs. a 10-8.5. Do we then go to quarter-points, or go like gymnastics with tenths of a point,” said Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

As glib and dismissive as Kizer is (I see a trend here), I think there is a small nugget of merit in shitting on half-points. Athletic commissions already seem to have a hard enough time adding up the scorecards as it is. So why not just 10-9, 10-8, and 10-7 instead? Nice whole numbers, just as the Lord intended.

The key question is how much trust we really put in the people doing the judging. If your general opinion is that MMA judges are on the whole stupid fucking morons, the best system to use is the simplest one – who won each round? Best of 3 or 5 wins.* Considering how sparingly 10-8 rounds are doled out, that’s basically what the current system is. But if you think judges are actually competent enough to be able to differentiate between a close round, a clear round, and a blowout, then a multi-point system like Doc recommends is clearly better.

I’d side more with the ‘judges are stupid fucking morons’ theorem.

*Well, the simplest would be the Survivor-esque ‘Write who you thought won down on a bit of cardboard with a sharpie’ method they used to employ back in the early days of the UFC but heaven forbid we do something simple when we can complexify the crap out of it.