Following B.J. Penn's loss to Frankie Edgar yesterday at UFC 112, I was pretty confident in my assessment of what happened during the fight. B.J. Penn, in my mind, easily won round one and two without a shadow of a doubt. Frankie Edgar easily won round five. Rounds three and four were somewhat toss-ups for me, but round three was a "lean" in the direction of B.J. Penn for me.
Later, I re-watched the fight. Sitting at my computer desk sipping on coffee as I tediously watched both men exchange at blazing speeds, I realized that my initial assessment was correct. I felt B.J. Penn edged out Edgar 48-47 at the very least in this fight. Was I outraged? No, not at all. Not even in the slightest. Did I feel it was utterly despicable that some judge at cageside couldn't come up with the same score? No.
The reaction from fans following the event has been maddening in my mind. Some fans are throwing their hands up that the decision was "horrible" and those fans cannot believe someone would give Edgar the fight when it was "obvious" that Penn landed more and harder. Others state that Edgar was more active, throwing combinations, and moving aggressively.
Those arguments lead to the natural progression of any argument -- solid statistical data to back up a claim. Michael Fagan reported FightMetric's data and revealed that Penn came out on top in the striking war 49-47 by using their system. Compustrike had Edgar winning the exchanges. For me, FightMetric's dataset looks much more accurate, and I can probably back up that claim as I do believe their staff does a much more meticulous assessment following the fights versus on-the-fly data like Compustrike.
But does any of this matter? No, it doesn't. The larger issue that everyone is missing is that this fight really comes down to the judges and their views of the fight. No, not their idealogy as to how a fight is scored, but their actual view of the fight from a cageside position.
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