Point Fighting: Good Game Plan Or Judging Nightmare?
We all saw what happened to former lightweight contender Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4 this past Friday. He got frustrated, took a chance, dropped his hands, waved Clay Guida in, and ate some punches just to get something going in the 5 round main event.
Luckily, Maynard came out with the victory via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
Guida seemed content to stick to the game plan also used by some of Greg Jackson’s fighters: stick and move. Or just move in Guida’s case. Cage side commentators Kenny Florian and Jon Anik seemed to think that Guida’s footwork had improved dramatically and was part of some master plan to frustrate Maynard. Yep, that sure worked.
However, it also frustrated the fans.
Guida is usually a fan favorite simply because he comes to fight. He has been in some of the most memorable 155-pound wars with Benson Henderson and Diego Sanchez. But Friday night, he wanted to win in a technical fashion apparently. The fans were cheering “Guida” in the beginning of the fight. But as the rounds went on with little action, the fans began to cheer “Maynard”. I bet giving "the bird" had something to do with it.
Everyone could see Maynard’s frustration, cussing at Guida to engage without running around the cage in circles. Maynard won the crowd.
“That fight f*cking sucked” said UFC President Dana White. I couldn’t agree with him more.
Another fight seemed to not sit well with White. The lightweight trilogy between Sam Stout vs Spencer Fisher ended with Stout winning via unanimous decision 30-27. But at the end of the fight, Stout’s face told a different story. Fisher clearly beat him up on the feet. Stout’s only weapon seemed to be the takedowns he scored towards the end of each round.
In the post fight interview on Fuel TV, Dana White expressed his feelings about the fight stating, “I thought Fisher won that fight. I think that’s bull sh*t. I think that if you get your head punched in for 4 minutes of a round, and take a guy down and lay on him for a minute, does not win you the fight. He didn’t do any damage on his takedowns.”
There are two ways to judge a takedown. Yes the guy scoring the takedown does have the better technique and timing to control where the fight is taking place. But on the other hand, the guy on the bottom isn’t taking any damage because he either has great defense, or the guy on top is content to just lay and pray.
So what’s the point of the takedown?
I suppose I would take someone down too if I was getting my face bashed in on the feet. However, a takedown is canceling the whole fight out IF no damage is done or no position is advanced after the takedown. Especially when there is little time left in the round.
Judges score takedowns. Everyone knows that. Judges score damage. Everyone knows that. But should judges score stagnant positions and stagnant foot work? How should judges score a technique that neutralizes all the action in a fight?