Judging the Judges: Breaking down UFC 218 decisions

Someone should be Judging the Judges, so why not me?

One of the certainties coming out of any MMA event we see is judging controversy. Even in cases where the card was amazing, like UFC 218, the judges still came under some criticism. I’ve decided after big events, I’ll take a look at the fights that went the distance and see if I agree with what the Commission judges determined. It’s time to focus on Judging the Judges.

Henry Cejudo vs. Serio Pettis  ( Unanimous Decision for Cedujo )

As far as decisions go, this one was a no-brainer. Henry absolutely dominated the fight by using his superior wrestling and controlling Pettis for much of the fight. Not only did Henry control the action by earning 3 of 5 takedown attempts, he also outstruck Pettis in both signature strikes and total strikes. The majority of those strikes were landed on the ground by Henry. The only statistical advantage Pettis had was he landed one more head strike in the fight than Cejudo did.

All three judges scored the fight 30-27 Cejudo and they completely nailed it. Easy fight to score and the judges did a perfect job not messing it up. 

Michelle Waterson vs. Teccia Torres  ( Unanimous Decision for Torres )

Tecca Torres and Michelle Waterson was another fight that was pretty straightforward. Rounds 1 and 3 were pretty clearly in favor of Teccia Torres who landed strikes at a much higher rate. In the second round, the striking was much closer and in fact, Michelle Waterson landed more significant strikes. Also, the second round saw Waterson find some success on the ground where she took Teccia down and passed the guard on numerous occasions.

The referees scored the fight (30-27, 29-28 and 29-28) all for Teccia Torres which was the right decision. However, the judge, Bryan Miner, scored all three rounds for Torres and that seemed pretty out of the norm. The second round was in my opinion at least pretty clearly Waterson’s. The judges got the final verdict right, but Bryan Miner I feel got Round 2 completely wrong. 

David Teymur vs. Drakkar Klose ( Unanimous Decision for Teymur )

This was a fight that had some pretty dramatic lulls in the action. There were only two takedowns in the entire fight and only one pass in the entire fight. So predominately this fight was scored via striking. On numerous occasions, Drakkar Klose was upset and wanted the action, but he wasn’t engaging either. It was a case where two counter-strikers failed to launch.  David Teymur did, however, land more signature strikes and total strikes in each of the three rounds. Drakkar Klose had two takedowns to one for Teymur but nothing really came of those takedowns.  I found the fight pretty easy to score. I had it 30-27 for Teymur.

The judges scored the fight for Teymur, however, Judge Eric Colon scored the fight 29-28 for Teymur. It’s not an egregious score, however, I scored it 30-27 and the vast majority of media Octagonside scored it 30-27 as well. 

Cortney Casey vs. Felice Herrig  ( Split Decision for Herrig )

This is the one fight where the judges and I saw the fight differently. That being said, the vast majority of fans and media were split on this one. The one thing everyone could agree on is that this fight was not at all entertaining. These two stood at range and danced and would occasionally come together for brief attack/counterattack punches. The action was way too infrequent to say anyone dominated the fight or someone was robbed.

The first round saw Cortney Casey land more significant strikes as well as total strikes. Felice did manage to secure a takedown and passed Casey’s guard, earning some points. That being said, Felice was reversed on the ground, and Casey earned top position. I scored the first round for Casey.  The second round saw Cortney land one more significant strike and the fight didn’t go to the mat. That said, Felice seemed to push the action a bit more. I can see giving Herrig the round for aggression and for pushing the pace. In the third round, Casey again landed more strikes Herrig and the fight once again did not hit the mat. I gave Round 1 to Casey, Round 2 to Herrig and Round 3 to Casey scoring the fight 29-28 in her favor.

The judges came back with a split decision. Judge Roy Silbert saw the fight 2-1 for Casey and Judges Bryan Miner and Sal D’Amato both saw it 2-1 for Herrig. Of course, Miner and D’Amato came up with the same score, but both saw Round winners differently. So there was no clear symmetry among the judges. I felt they slipped up here.