Home News Editorial: UFC 163: Lyoto Vs Davis Worst Ruling I’ve Seen!

Editorial: UFC 163: Lyoto Vs Davis Worst Ruling I’ve Seen!


WOW!  I have to admit my jaw dropped when I was at UFC 157 earlier this year and Machida pulled in a win over Henderson in what was perhaps one of the most uneventful bouts I’ve ever witnessed.  But last night…  words just have no ability to even describe or justify my personal aggravation with the entire judging process in UFC bouts.

To say the win was a theft is like saying Hiroshima was a stick of dynamite.

So everyone is completely bitching and moaning on Facebook and many of our peer publications are out there scratching their heads wondering what the hell happened in the judges booth that night.  Well we have something for you…

UFC 163 Score Card - Phil Davis Vs Lyoto Machida


Sadly when you look at this score card it just doesn’t make much sense.  Awarding points for those last second take downs seems like a cheesy move.  Yet, in the strictest of terms it is valid to do so.  Here-in lies the problem with UFC’s judging system.  It just doesn’t make enough sense to everyone watching the fight.

There needs to be a way of gauging a fight based on performance that isn’t arbitrary.  First of all one issue at hand which is very relevant here is takedowns.  In the unified rules and the UFC rules takedowns are mentioned in several areas, none of which specifically talk about takedown methodology on it’s own, only how they may be used in relation to grappling, countering, octagon control, and the list goes on.

When you read the rules they seem to make sense, but then when you watch the fight, it doesn’t always translate so easily. So who the hell won the fight last night?  Ask the fans and no doubt they will tell you it was Machida and not Davis.  Ask the judges, and they’ll likely stand by their decisions.  As the fighters and only Davis will hesitantly defend his victory.

Is he wrong?  Were the judges wrong?  I ‘m not a judge, nor am I a fighter in the UFC, so to say either are wrong is to presume quite a bit.  I can tell you this, as an observer.  I was at 50/50 on a split decision win in either direction or maybe a unanimous decision win for Machida.

That’s what I saw with my own two eyes and that is what I felt would be justified in my heart.  I believe many fans would agree and some might even say I am being too unbiased.  Either way… the fact is the fight is over and now we all have to sit here with this dirty feeling, like we had been robbed in our sleep of a just decision.

Some serious thought needs to go into the judging process and how to improve it.  You can’t have upsets like this happen, especially on a PPV card.  If your criteria (meaning the UFC’s criteria) isn’t in sync with your fans then you have a problem.  One that will either be fixed for you through fan abandonment or competitive improvement.  Bellator anyone?.

OK.  I am done with my rant.  I’ll leave you with one more bit of fun reading.  A direct link to the UFC’s rules for judging.

Have fun!  UFC Unified Rules and Regulations – Section 14, Judging.




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Luca Rajabi
Luca has been passionate about martial arts and eastern philosophies since childhood. As an athlete, inventor and entrepreneur Luca founded SciFighting on the principal lessons learned from his life experience "fighting" to preserve his health and fitness. Although born with inherently poor and inconsistent health he pushed forward to learn as much as he could about the sciences of technology, medicine and mental health. Years of study, working with physicians and combined analysis finally began to bare fruit by his early twenties. Starting with Fencing, cross training and body building then moving to Boxing, Western Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Eskrima and an eclectic assortment of self defense techniques. Luca's core philosophy is that to win a battle every fighter must balance their mental and physical health. Luca has said that "With well developed technique, conditioning and mental focus a sound strategy will most often win over brute strength alone." It is in this spirit that he passionately advocates for the "Science of Fighting".
  • Philip Chua

    The unified rules were made with input from the UFC but are not the UFC’s rules. The rules and judges are part of the athletic commission, not the promotion. Brazil AFAIK uses the Unified Rules and their AC provides the judges. In the future when you write articles you should refer to the rules and judging as “MMA” and not “UFC”. The UFC is the promotion. MMA is the sport.

    • Thanks for the feedback Philip. It’s actually not so cut and dry. The subject of ACs and then those of each State, County, Country and so-on is one that we could write a series of novels on. The judges here were not provided without input from the UFC. So the UFC is just as responsible for the outcome as the ACs. For the sake of general understanding I am using terminology a little more loosely to drive a point home. That being said, I encourage you to look up Sal D’amato’s judging record. He’s been an MMA judge since at least 2007 and has been a member of the judges panel for bouts in TUF, UFC and WEC in at least 20 locations in the USA and 12 locations abroad. 3 of those being in Brazil. Chris Watts also has been an MMA judge since 2002 and has worked locals in Europe, Asia and South America predominantly. (Never in the US) Finally, Rick Winter has been an MMA judge since 2009 and has worked in the US, England and Brazil. What’s the common denominator here? Predominantly the UFC. The promotion. If the ACs were the ones making these decisions as independent bodies, what are the chances of these judges appearing on cards in Brazil? Why not some Brazilian natives? I’m not suggesting a conspiracy but definitely a matter of responsibility and accountability that needs to be resolved. When these trends change, then we can start to get semantical and actually have those semantics mean something. 🙂

      Oh and to give credit to a source for this information: http://mmadecisions.com is an excellent resource.

      One final note on this: Notice how the score card is titled? “UFC Official Score Card” Why not call it “Athletic Commission of Rio Official MMA Score Card”? 🙂 Semantics. . .

  • WalnutCreekScott

    This is the same as when Rampage got the decision over Machida. The judges got it wrong and everyone knows it. Takedowns without any ensuing damage should be awarded no points and nothing other than a positive aspect of ring control. An escape from the bottom position is twice as impressive as any initial takedown so if the takedown is one point, the escape should be two points. No one gives points for escapes.

  • sanbaba

    I can understand judging round one in favor of Davis, those knees at the end of the round were the more substantial of possibly the whole match (the head shots at the same time seemed to mostly glance). What really fails to impress about Chris Watts’s scoring is that somehow he ruled round one in Machida’s favor, but round three in Davis’s. Even if you are… perhaps blind… it’s one thing to think round three was Davis’s but in that case how on earth did he lose round one!? Maybe he thought the each should be determined by who had the most takedown failures?