Worst MMA Judging Decisions

  • Some decisions are so obvious that even the amateur fan can see it
  • For a relatively young sport like MMA, it's common to see controversies because of the judging decisions
  • The decision of the Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio "Shogun" Rua might be the worst of all
worst mma judging decisions

For every sports there are stories of athletes being robbed off. Here are some of the worst MMA judging decisions with quite a controversy.

For every sport, there are anecdotes and stories of athletes being robbed off of their victory. Be it judging system or the judge himself, there is probably no worse feeling than losing a game that was already in your bag. Especially for an MMA fights, being a sport immeasurable and complicated as it is, there are a handful of cases of controversial judging cases. In this article, we’re going to break down the worst MMA judging decisions that have created quite a controversy.

MMA is a relatively young sport and in need of several improvements. The guidelines of the judging are not clear, are extremely subjective. Outcomes of the fights can heavily depend on the judge’s preference. Even the UFC president Dana White has once warned the fighters to “Never leave it in the hands of the judges.”

In order to make this as accurate as possible, most of the MMA fights have more than one judge. After all, they are several professional judges who know the sport much better than any fan, so what’s the worst thing that could happen right? However, there are some worst MMA judging decisions that even the most amateur viewer can see as problematic.

The absolute worst of the worst MMA judging decisions- Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

This one might be the most obvious one out of the worst MMA judging decisions. Seriously, many have wondered if the judges were watching a different fight after they have announced Lyoto Machida as a winner. After five hard-fought rounds, Machida was looking solemn and ready for the disappointing decision.

However, all judges have unanimously voted in favor of Machida, crowning him the eight consecutive winners of the UFC fights. He was yet to lose in his total of seven appearances in the UFC.  Due to this success, he was a favorite in the online betting sites in the UK. Not surprisingly, this alone can’t promise a win, and the audience didn’t hold back their disappointment in the judges’ decision.

The early rounds were close as Machida landed a handful of well-aimed kicks and a combination of punches. However, the last round was all Rua. Machida was visibly slower and struggling to keep his hand up to cover himself. As the last bell of the fifth round ringed, Rua was already celebrating with his team.

Even Dana White didn’t agree with the decision and guaranteed an immediate rematch during the press conference. Machida has wholeheartedly agreed to the rematch and invited Rua to it “whenever he is ready”.

Leonard Garcia vs Chan Sung Jung

Interestingly, the judge for this fight was Nelson “Doc” Hamilton, the same one who voted in favor of Lyoto Machida in the fight mentioned above. Being one of the most experienced judges in the UFC, he even suggested the new scoring system for the matches. Him making two of the worst MMA judging decisions is a great example of how unpredictable the outcome of the fights can be.

Chan Sung Jung or the “Korean Zombie” lost to Leonard Garcia by a split decision. Two of the judges gave it to Garcia by 29-28 and the other one was in favor of Sung Jung with 29-28 decision. It might be safe to say that no other decision was met with louder boos from the audience. During the course of the fight, the Korean Zombie landed 89 effective strikes to Garcia’s 64. Garcia was fruitlessly trying to kick Sung Jung which might’ve seemed impressive for the judges.

worst mma judging decisions
The judge doesn’t always have the better judgement.

The judges defended their decision saying that Garcia seemed to control the pace of the match. Also, he was less flustered in the third or the last round. There was a rumor that he has broken his hand during the fight and that’s why he has shifted to the leg techniques. Maybe the judges have empathized with that. All in all, this was clearly one of the worst MMA judging decisions. Sung Jung has proved that in the rematch that happened after almost two years by ending the fight with a twister kick.

Leonard Garcia- the recipient of the worst MMA judging decisions

By no means through his fault, Leonard Garcia has become one of the most common recipients of the worst MMA judging decisions. One might blame it in his fighting style rather than on the judges. He tends to throw out wild punches that miss the target more often than hitting it. His excitement and activeness is always entertaining to see, which might tip off the judges to his direction.

However, MMA is not just about entertainment or about who’s going to move the most during the fight. In the fight with Nam Phan at the TUF 12 Finale in 2010, he won the fight by split decision. Fortunately, UFC head has promised a rematch, in which Phan won by unanimous decision.

Matt Hamill vs Michael Bisping

The controversial judging of this fight would’ve probably provoked less hate if Michael Bisping has reacted a little differently. The fight was so close that we almost didn’t include it in the list of the worst MMA judging decisions. However, the outcome of the match was so crucial in both of the fighter’s career that it was impossible not to mention.

The judging at the time was seen as a clear example of hometown bias. Matt Hamill has dominated the first round and most of the second one. Bisping was not exactly standing still, to be fair, he did his fair share in the last round too. Hamill’s pace was significantly slowing in the second round which gave Bisping a head off. You can visit online sportsbooks in the UK and dig a little bit to watch the full fight and decide it for yourself.

The way Bisping responded to the controversy was the first reason he became one of the most hated fighters in the UFC. He has struggled with this bad boy image at first but eventually embraced it. As always, bad publicity is still publicity. Tickets for his fights’ sell much faster than others for the ones who are eager to see him get beaten up. That only offers him more money and fame.

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