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Thread: Bendo vs. Gil Scoring Provides Opportunity to Reflect on Biased Judging

  1. #1
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    Default Bendo vs. Gil Scoring Provides Opportunity to Reflect on Biased Judging

    Bendo vs. Gil scoring provides opportunity to reflect on biased judging - Mixed Martial Arts News

    Benson Henderson retained his UFC lightweight title Saturday night with a split decision over former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

    Outside of the partisan crowd, fans and fighters seemed to split remarkably evenly on who they thought won, so the split decision did not unduly raise eyebrows, at least until this tweet:

    Tap D Jackson ‏@T_Wan827

    @danawhite the judge who scored it for Gil, wade vierra is a Cesar Gracie JJ affiliate/student? How is that legal? #ufc #ufconfox7
    CSAC judge Wade Vierra runs an affiliate school of Team Cesar Gracie, and, like Gil Melendez is a Team Cesar Gracie brown belt.

    Linked in lists Vierra's employers as the CSAC and Cesar Gracie's GracieFighter.



    Wade (black gi), is picture below, to Cesar's right.



    Immediately after UFC on FOX 7 Cesar tweeted the following:

    Cesar Gracie ‏@CesarGracieBJJ 6h

    Thanks to @GilbertMelendez and @NateDiaz209 for representing. I thought Gil won tonight but we are still blessed with great @ufc fans
    In the early days of the sport, I reffed and judged my own students, as there was no one else to do it. At one point I was even slated to fight my best friend, on a charity card. Like other offials that came up during the 90s, you learned to set your biases aside. On the vast majority of cards since, I have reffed people I have trained with and whose company I enjoy and value. It is part of being an official - everyone is going to hate you some points, even people you like. If you want more friends, buy a pick up truck, don't ref or judge MMA.

    While the sport has grown immensely since the late 90s, there is still not an abundance of highly-qualified, highly-experienced officials. We need to get the most qualified individuals into and next to the cage, and count on them to offer their best, unbiased efforts.

    The mixed martial arts world is too small for there to be a wall between all judges and all fighters, as boxing tries to maintain, with varying degrees of success. People in MMA often train at a wide number of schools during a year, socialize at grappling events, and otherwise enjoy a wide real-life social network that inevitably includes figures subject to regulation. In a sport that is evolving as fast as this one, it is in fact highly useful, even necessary, to have judges on the mats as much as possible.

    The sport is crying out for retired fighters to become referees and judges, bringing an invaluable perspective into (or next to) the cage. As that happens, as people who train, characteristically for many years, become officials, it will become impossible for there to be cards full of fighters that a ref or judge has no association what so ever with. Follow a BJJ lineage back, and in the end, all things merge into one. And if a fighter's lineage is not affiliated with an official's lineage, perhaps they are rivals.

    A look at the judge's score cards Saturday night reveals how close the bout was. Further, the judge who was most out of lockstep with the other two was not Vierra, but the highly-regarded Derek Cleary, who was alone in two rounds, to Vierra's one. The score that appeared to most differ from the opinion of most viewers was not Vierra's, but rather Cleary, who saw it for Henderson in the 5th, when neither of the other two judges, or the vast majority of onlookers did. But that is a sign not of incompetence, or bias, but rather how close every round was.

    Round 1
    Henderson:
    Melendez: Derek Cleary, Michael Bell, Wade Vierra

    Round 2
    Henderson:Michael Bell, Wade Vierra
    Melendez: Derek Cleary

    Round 3
    Henderson: Derek Cleary, Michael Bell, Wade Vierra
    Melendez:

    Round 4
    Henderson: Derek Cleary, Michael Bell
    Melendez: Wade Vierra

    Round 5
    Henderson: Derek Cleary
    Melendez: Michael Bell, Wade Vierra

    There is no suggestion from any quarter that Vierra scored the fight in bad faith.

    It is standard practice for judges to bow out of bouts where ties are too close to come to a fair judgement, and Vierra could have done so here if he felt he would be able to fairly judge Melendez. That said, the big problem right now with judging in MMA is not bias, it is incompetence. There are too many judges and refs that have spent 0 time on the mat, and do not know what they are looking at, literally, and offer scores that even a casual fan with vision issues knows are wrong.

    In order to have the most competent, experienced officials available - terrific judges like Wade Vierra, who have spent years in training on the mat - there are going to be cases where things look off enough to tweet about. In a generation or two, things will probably be different, but for now, and the next decade or more, we are going to have cases, many of them, where we need a judge's experience, and are going to have to rely on that judge's integrity and good character to deliver an unbiased score.

    That is what happened with Vierra, and it is going to happen more, not less over the next coming years, and scores are going to improve because of it.
    For the record, I saw Melendez winning the fight, so I'm not beating the drums making a case for impropriety. But still interesting.

  2. #2
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    That's real interesting, although I am all for having judges with some kind of MMA experience, I wouldn't be surprised if there was even a little bias. They would be able to get away with it too, not like these judges ever get in trouble for making a lousy decision. I just wonder how many fights have been affected by bias judging. If you dislike a fighter, your unconscious mind is going to come up with ways of how the fighter lost that round, same goes for a fighter they like. Judges should have no affiliation with any fighters they are judging. That's my opinion anyway...

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    This fight was really close and I could have seen it fairly judged either way. I still do not like this affiliation and find it a very interesting topic for discussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by zana1126 View Post
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    Whatever floats your boat man...

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    if you have an affiliation with a camp, fighter, coach, corner man, ect. you should not be allowed to judge (or ref) that fight. End of story.

    Its just like the NFL pulling that ref from the saints preseason game because his facebook was littered with Saints pictures, logos and even pictures of him at games as a fan. There should be no room to question anything when it comes to judges or refs, there are way to many ways for them to "fix" the fight one way or another.

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    I've heard that this happens a little more often than we think because, when you get MMA guys judging the fights and they're part of the fight community, they'll probably have some ties to fighters in one way or another, but this specific affiliation thing looks bad, but then again, these commissions are utterly fucking ridiculous. It would've looked ALOT WORSE if Gil had won, but hey the silver-lining of all of this is that A)Cesar's camp lost ANOTHER title fight(YAY) and B) even with a guy affiliated with him at the scoring table, they still couldn't manage to win a title fight in the UFC.

    I had it 2,3,4 for Bendo and 1 and 5 for Gil, but the one thing that REALLY stuck out to me about last night was the pace that Gil had in the second half of the fight, which I think cost him some rounds, as Shields and his corner were telling him he won the first 3 rounds and I think it messed with his game. In the post, Gil said something about "taking his foot off the pedal" and it kinda showed. His corner did him no favours whatsoever during that fight.

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    I had Henderson winnin by takin rounds 2-3-4. watched it over today and got same conclusion, the main reason I gave rnd 5 to Melendez was because it seemed Henderson spent most of rnd runnin away, but hend did also appear to land more sig strikes in 5th
    SAY WHAT?:headscratch:

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    I like that the had a judge with MMA knowledge, but that is strange that he had a connection with one of the fighters camps, even if it was a loose connection. That being said its not like he did a terrible or obviously biased job scoring the fight. Now if he scored every round for Melendez or if Bendo dominated Melendez and he scored the fight for Melendez there might be more of a cause for alarm.
    "He's got big balls. I like that." -Josh Koschek on Frank Trigg's balls.

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    i had Gil winning the 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

    I didn't like the decision but Gil should NOT have left it in the judges hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badluck33 View Post
    i had Gil winning the 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

    I didn't like the decision but Gil should NOT have left it in the judges hands.
    Exactly how I scored it. Crazy how there's no consensus besides R1 going to Gil.

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    I had it 1 for Gil. I could see where 2 might be up in the air but I found that was more of a momentum shift for Bendo. I saw five leaning more towards Benson although I could see that as the round where there may have been some confusion.

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