An Unfortunate Ending: Strikeforce Finale marred by questionable judging, officiating

Last night Strikeforce closed shop with its final show from Oklahoma City. There were some great performances put on by fighters like Tarec Saffiedine, Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, Jacare Souza, and Gegard Mousasi.  The card featured some good submissions and an excellent striking clinic from Saffiedine in besting Nathan Marquardt for the last Strikeforce title to ever be contested.

However, there were some negative aspects of the show that, in a sense, marred the promotion’s going away party. These included some questionable judging and some very strange decisions by the referees.

First off, Ryan Couture beat K.J. Noons in a highly exciting split decision. Many thought Noons had won with more active and powerful striking, and the fight statistics would suggest that fully as well. One judge even gave it to Noons by a score of 30 to 27, so it would seem quite strange that Couture somehow won.

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Dana White expressed his ire at the situation on Twitter:


And so the outcry over MMA judging rages on.

Also, in a Light Heavyweight bout between former champ Gegard Mousasi and striker Mike Kyle, Mousasi began to dominant on the ground. He loosened Kyle up with strikes and sunk in a deep rear naked choke. Kyle tapped out not once, but twice, before the ref finally stopped the fight on the third tap. It was a strange way to end the fight, to say the least. Thankfully Kyle was not seriously injured, and he announced his retirement after the fight.

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Finally, another strange occurrence reared its head in the Middleweight bout between Jacare Souza and Ed Herman when Herman threw some illegal upkicks at a grounded Jacare from the bottom. The ref acknowledged that the kicks were in fact illegal, but did not penalize Herman whatsoever. What’s more, the fight was restarted on the feet, essentially rewarding Herman for using an illegal move, as it got him out from under one of the best ground wizards MMA has ever seen.

It was a moot point, thankfully, as Jacare finished Herman with a vicious keylock soon thereafter. The officiating could have lead to great controversy had Herman somehow pulled off the victory after the fight was stood up incorrectly.

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I thought that these circumstances lead to a bit of a strange night in Strikeforce’s final swan song, but now the promotion is done and MMA will move on. Judging is always unpredictable but officiating mistakes like the three tapouts are seldom seen in the UFC, and for good reason. What is your take on the events of last night?