Michael Bisping Calls For Accountability For Bad MMA Judging
Judging is one of the most debated and controversial topics in mixed martial arts. After UFC 251, where Alex Volkanovski defended his featherweight title against Max Holloway via a hotly contested and controversial split decision victory, Dana White promised to “tighten up the referees and judges”. Fast forward several months and things haven’t changed for the better. But if judges are held accountable for their actions, UFC legend Michael Bisping believes things could change.
“Don’t Leave It In The Hands Of The Judges”
Speaking on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), the former UFC middleweight champion shared his views on judging in MMA, and explained why he hates the phrase “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges”.
“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.”
Calls For Accountability
Bisping argued that since the judges get paid for doing their job, they should be held accountable for their decisions, as they could put a fighter’s purse, hard work, and even championship belt at stake.
“Almost every event there’s an outlandish fight that’s scored,” Bisping continued. “Even commentating I’ve been like, ‘What the f***? 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 s*** 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***ing 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!”
What do you make of Michael Bisping’s views on the controversial judging in MMA?