Michael Bisping doesn’t want to hear anything about MMA fighters not “leaving it in the hands of the judges.”
The former UFC middleweight champion was on his Believe You Me podcast, discussing this weekends upcoming fight between Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar. In his last fight, Holloway lost a contentious decision to Alexander Volkanovski in a rematch of their title fight. When his co-host brought up the old adage, “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges,” Bisping was sent into a tangent about that whole train of thought (H/T MMA Fighting).
“I hate that expression because no fighter wants to leave it in the hands of the judges,” Bisping said. “No fighter has ever, ever thought, ‘Oooo, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna leave this in the hands of three random people that I’ve never met. I’m gonna work my ass off for several months, I’m gonna put my career on the line, I’m gonna put my health on the line, I’m gonna fight in a fight and what I’m gonna do is a strategy: I’m gonna leave it in the hands of the judges because we all know they all make a lot of mistakes so that’s what I’m gonna do.’ Nobody ever plans it! You want to get in, get out. You don’t get paid for overtime. If you can get a quick knockout, great! Unfortunately, when you are fighting the best guys in the world, and you are also one of the best guys in the world, you can’t always get them out of there.”
Judging in MMA has long been a discussion point among fans and pundits alike. Seemingly every MMA card put on in recent years has had at least one puzzling scorecard that’s changed the outcome of a fight. Countless suggestions as to how the current system can be fixed have been thrown about, but for Bisping, the solution is a simple one: hold judges accountable for the scores they render.
“Almost every event there’s an outlandish fight that’s scored,” Michael Bisping continued. “Even commentating I’ve been like, ‘What the f*ck? How did that judge even come to that conclusion?’ I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they need to be held accountable. Number one, these guys are doing a job. They’re doing a job. They get paid! So you’ve got to do that job well. In any other walk of life if you do a sh*t job, you get fired!
“When I say held accountable, it’s very simple. If there’s an outlandish score that doesn’t make sense, he sits in a room with two or three other judges and you explain why you scored that round that way, and if you can’t give a feasible excuse that’s rational and believable, then you’re either incompetent or inaccurate and either way you’re not fit for the f*cking job. It’s as simple as that and I don’t understand why that isn’t implemented.
“… Sometimes one judge’s decision can change your life, change the amount of money you’re about to earn, might make you champion of the world, might make you not champion of the world. This is high stakes!”
Bisping is of course no stranger to debatable judging. In his career, he came out on the wrong side of close fights against Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva and Rashad Evans, as well as arguably being gifted a win over Matt Hamill. Whatever the solution to the problem in MMA judging is, lets just hope that someone is able to come up with an answer soon and this weekends card goes off without any headscratchers.
Do you agree with Michael Bisping’s take on MMA judging? What do you think would help solve the problem?