One thing was for certain after the dust settled at UFC Fight Night 33 in Brisbane. Austalia. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Mark Hunt put on one of the best heavyweight fights in UFC history. Silva and Hunt went back and forth for 25 minutes in their instant “fight of the year” nominee, and the judges cageside decided that the bout was a majority draw. The draw feels right. After all of the skill, heart and blood that poured out of both fighters right in front of our eyes, it’s hard to say one was the better fighter. However, that is their job, and to me the score cards felt like a case of a hometown decision (note: I understand Hunt is from New Zealand, but it was pretty clear who the hometown favorite was in Brisbane on Saturday morning.)
When I look at the judges scorecards from the bout, all three did their job for four rounds, but then two of them independently decided that the fifth round would be a 10-8 round for Hunt. Two judges, who knew a 10-8 round would knot up their score cards, decided that round 5 would be a 10-8 round. Despite it being not even the most one sided round in the fight, two judges decided to make the round a 10-8 for the hometown fighter. The last two minutes of the fourth round were the only really one-sided moment of the fight. The round ended with Silva in full mount and Steve Percival telling Hunt to fight back as if he was going to stop the fight.
This is not a critique about the current scoring system in MMA because in my mind this is more about consistency. If I was going to liberally start throwing around 10-8 scores in this fight, I would have given a 10-8 round to Hunt in the third and one to Silva in the fourth. In fact, when I figured out the math in my head on Friday night, I was certain the round Hunt received a 10-8 in was the third. It just really seems like a weird time for the judges to start throwing around 10-8 rounds.
UFC Fight Night 33 Hunt Vs Silva Highlights:
Over and over again I keep seeing this comparison of one 10-9 round to another. The question always goes like this. In one fight, Fighter A beats the holy hell out of fighter B, and Fighter A gets the round 10-9. In the other fight, Fighter A does just just enough to win a close round with a takedown on Fighter B, and also gets a 10-9. The complaint is these two rounds look nothing alike but they received the same score. However, these things happen in sports all the time, and the score doesn’t always tell the story. When it’s halftime in a football game, and the score is 10-9, one would likely make the argument that it was a close half. Even though you could look at the statistics and figure out the team who scored 9 points put in 3 field goals on turnovers on dumb mistakes from the other team. My only point here is that the scores don’t always tell the story.
I hope this piece doesn’t come off as me hating on this fight or the fighters. Since I started reporting over five years ago, this was without a doubt the best heavyweight fight I have ever covered. UFC President Dana White said he might buy the two an island for their work, and If he had the assets Richard Branson has, Hunt and Bigfoot would be dividing up Necker Island ‘I Love Lucy’ style with a line right down the middle of it. Nonetheless, I do think this fight is an example of more inconsistencies in MMA judging, but no one seems to be pointing that out because the fight was so good ‘no one deserved to lose.’
I have been doing this long enough to realize that the rematch will likely not be as exciting as the first fight, but based on their performances this is the fight I am looking forward to the most in 2014.
Photo courtesy of MMAWeekly.