…but seriously, this is getting old. Three arguments that can be made in defense of Randy Couture’s decision win over Brandon Vera at UFC 105:
1) Draws sucks. I look at a round of a fight like I do an election – if you get 50% + one vote, guess what? You are victorious (pretend for a moment that it’s a heads-up election, no third parties – sorry, Canada). The sample size of a round in MMA is typically 300 seconds, and if I’m even going to contemplate giving a 10-10, I need to see each fighter controlling/winning about half of that. Vera was nowhere close to establishing his game plan, positional preference or prevalent skill sets for the vast majority of both rounds one and three – thus, 29-28 Couture.
2) Position matters. Having your back against the cage sucks. You’re on the defensive, fighting off the body weight of your opponent as he leans into you and works to either dirty box (which Randy does, and did, excellently) or negate your attempts to get away. The only truly neutral position, in the eyes of the judges (and specifically NOT in the eyes of jiu jitsu marks that love their guard game), is when both fighters are standing. If nothing else is occurring, position counts, and Randy dominated position for the vast majority of both rounds one and three – thus, 29-28 Couture.
3) Vera should have just won. This is slightly tongue-in-cheek (at Fightlinker? NEVAR) and personal, but I feel it has merit nonetheless. Randy Couture is 46 years old. Every fight he enters could end with him retiring at the end. His skills, while still incredible, have diminished, and he was never that great at striking to begin with. Vera wobbled Couture at the very beginning of the fight, and then – multiple times – decided to abandon his biggest strength and advantage in the course of trying to engage with a world champion Greco Roman wrestler in the clinch. Over and over again. And that’s stupid. Thus, 29-28 Couture.
And just for fun (and in shrewd anticipation of the comments), one argument that cannot be used in criticism of the decision:
1) Randy looked like shit. There were two guys in that cage, and just because you look like shit doesn’t mean you can’t or didn’t win. Sometimes, you run into situations in your life – like ‘would you rather be homeless or in your mom’s basement’ or ‘either a shit sandwich or a giant douche – your call’ – that involve choosing the lesser of two evils, and for the majority of both rounds one and three, Vera sucked even more than Randy did. Thus, 29-28 Couture.
I see the majority of the bitching about this decision coming from three sources – Vera marks, people that will find something to bitch about no matter what, and the contingent of hardcore fans that look down upon wrestling as a boring, bastardized style that doesn’t even count as a martial art, and believe that position/takedowns shouldn’t be rewarded and referees should have yellow cards and stand ups/break ups on the cage should occur more frequently. Fuck all that noise. Wrestling counts, position matters, and that’s why Randy won.