Bellator 120 Judge Explains Controversial Scoring
Last Saturday, May 17th, 2014, Bellator saw it’s first Pay-Per-View event come to fruition with a night full of exciting fights and big names. Nothing was bigger, however, than the controversy caused by the two main events of the evening: Rampage vs. King Mo and Chandler vs. Brooks for the interim lightweight championship.
The main event and co-main event saw two fights that ended as razor thin decisions steeped in controversy. The main event of the night, Chandler vs. Brooks has received the most backlash since the fight because of how heavily favored Michael Chandler was and because of how close the decision scores were. The judges for this event have had to take a lot of criticism and flack for their choices since Saturday, but finally one of the judges, Rob Hinds sat down and spoke to MMAmania.com to explain why he scored the infamous fifth round the way he did (10-9 for Brooks), and how judges scores can differ so much during the same match.
“Everybody knows Michael Chandler,” Hinds said. “Just about everybody loves Michael Chandler. Nobody knows Will Brooks at this point until know. Just that alone, in that minute, minute and a half flurry at the end of the round for Chandler, that obviously sits in everybody’s eyes. I completely understand that. Looking at the full five minutes, what Chandler did the last minute and 15 or whatever it is, wasn’t more effective than the effectiveness that Will Brooks through that entire round up until then. That’s why I saw round five going Will Brooks way.”
“You know me, I will review it a million times but, really from my judges seat it was pretty clear cut when I took the full five minutes into consideration,” he continued. “It was pretty clear cut. Of course all of us had a feeling that if this fight came down to a decision the way it was going there would be some quote, unquote ‘controversy’ and people not happy either way or whatever that looked like. That round to me was very clear for the full five minutes.”
Despite Hind being absolutely confident in the score that he gave to Brooks for the round, he also wanted to make it known that judges often have a few obstacles of their own as far as being able to accurately see the fighters and all of the moves of the fight.
“Here’s one of those things I experienced during that fight and the Rampage fight,” he explained. “My judges seat… right to the left of me was a huge post and one of the boxes the camera guys stands on. To my right, the corner post by the cage door that I had, gave me a little bit of a blind spot and some of those things had a little bit of an effect. There were some things that I don’t think anything was going on, but I just couldn’t see.”
“During those two fights especially there were times I couldn’t see and where I could see really well,” he revealed. “In the fifth round where Chandler got him down and was ground and pounding, Will Brooks was either deflecting a lot of those shots or they weren’t landing very cleanly. There were a lot of things from my actual judges seat that I know would definitely make a difference from looking on TV.”
During the last round of the Chandler vs. Brooks fight, many people feel that the last minute or so of the round was enough to have possibly turned the tides into Chandlers favor, but Hinds stands behind his decision, stating this:
“An attempt versus an effective catch or a close submission, there’s different weight to those,” Hinds explained. “When you see an attempt at something, as judges we need to see how deep it goes, how much trouble it puts the other fighter in, all those things to give it either more or lesser weight. That’s one of the things you look at too is really from each judges’ chair the perspective you get is different.”
“If somebody gets in a submission and you can’t see their face, you can’t see the actual lock, you can’t see how deep the choke is, that has a lot of impact on how much impact you are going to give it. You just can’t assume that something is deep or something’s not. There’s a lot different tell-tale signs that you have to look at.”
He also took the time to go over the equally controversial Rampage vs. King Mo fight, a bout many feel that King Mo sinched up with his aggressive wrestling.
“The shots that Rampage was hitting him with, whether it was a short uppercut or a mid-range shot, he was landing hard,” Hinds revealed. “Those are the ones that sound like hitting a plastic lunchbox against a table. Those were thudding shots, regardless of the range of them and they were tremendously effective. Mo was trying hard and wrestling hard. The third round was ineffective wrestling versus effective striking, no question about it, at least from my seat.”
While there are certainly tons of things that factor into a judge’s final decision, Hinds is confident that he and his colleagues utilized ever advantages and worked around every possible disadvantage to accurately score the fight. When asked if he was absolutely positive about the rulings in the cage, he replied,
“No question about it.”