UFC 104 Analysis - Machida vs. Rua Decision Controversy

UFC Analysis – You Think Rua Should Have Won? Whoa there, buddy…

Overwhelming public opinion and computer evidence suggests that Mauricio Rua won the title fight at UFC 104 against Machida by a landslide, but the three judges alongside the octagon voted unanimously in favor of Machida. The other three people who thought that Machida won the fight? Little know Josh Thomson, Anderson Silva…and Machida himself.  The fourth? Me. And the fifth will be you because of this article.

Sure there’s a prevailing thought that Machida won the first three rounds, and that the fair majority of Rua’s blows weren’t threatening at all. In defense of Machida, Rua didn’t effectively put the champ in danger for the final two rounds and failed to score any form of knockout. Is that enough to strip Machida of the belt?

Everyone on the planet seems to think so.

Dana White, president of the UFC, even came out of the wood work to say that Rua deserved to win the fight. In a video that has made the rounds on the information super highway, White was filmed saying, “I thought Shogun won.” His sentiments were shared by nearly every MMA blog and major news outlet including Sports Illustrated, Sherdog and a preliminary headline posted on ESPN. On top of that, Rua’s backers included UFC fighters like Shane Carwin, Kenny Florian, Roy Nelson, Cain Velasquez, Rampage Jackson, BJ Penn and Frank Shamrock.

The Machida Hate Train didn’t stop there either. A bunch of nerds got their computers involved and submitted some pretty lopsided testimony in favor of the challenger. The numbers calculated that Rua outlanded Machida 89-50 and outperformed him by nearly 30% output. I’m not going to get in to the details, especially when nerds are weighing in on a fist fight, but it was clear that Rua should have outscored Machida. Don’t pencil pushers have any room in their stupid calculations for real facts?

Look out, pencil necks, because I’m rolling up my sleeves.

To beat the champ, you’ve got to really beat him down. Machida was injured like we’ve never seen, and will take approximately two months to heal from his injuries, but it wasn’t enough to put Machida away. And isn’t that the sign of how much a challenger deserves to win? This isn’t figure skating for pete’s sake. This is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

A history of the Light Heavyweight Championship shows just how reluctant the judges are to change the title over via decision, and that may alleviate some of the angst hanging out there. The title has actually changed hands just once when the decision was given to the judges (Griffin def. Jackson at UFC 86). The only other time a title fight in the Light Heavyweight Division changed hands by decision was…wait for it…NEVER. Tito Ortiz claimed a vacant title by decision, and lost a decision to Couture that unified the titles.

A champion loses his title in this division by getting the crap kicked out of him, and while Machida was bleeding, battered and bruised, he was still standing and able to defend himself. If you compare this fight to the unanimous decision that stripped Rampage Jackson of his title, then it’s not even close. Griffin had Jackson on the ropes, fighting for his life, the entire fight. Did Rua? Not really.

Rua’s fans can cry to the hills like dirt babies if they want to. They can throw numbers and stats at this fight like the nerds I used to beat up in high school. But the judges at ringside saw exactly what tilted the fight in Machida’s favor – Shogun let up in the final round. Hell, Rua even admitted it, stating that he didn’t try to close the fight because he thought he was ahead on the scorecards.

Ahead on the scorecards?! Are you freaking kidding me? If you’re going to be a champion, you knock the champ out. Rua thought he could take the title by points and excuse me if that’s not the champion that I want holding the belt proudly. The champion I want is the one who immediately offered a rematch to the guy who nearly took him to the cleaners. Thankfully, that’s the fighter who’s still holding the Light Heavyweight Championship.