Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Cesar Gracie blasted the judging of the three cageside officials charged with scoring UFC 143's main event matchup between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, calling the trio "a perfect storm of incompetence."
In the now controversial interim welterweight title bout, Gracie's longtime protege Diaz lost a unanimous decision 49-46, 49-46, 48-47 as scored by Cecil Peoples, Patricia Morse-Jarman and Junichiro Kamijo, respectively.
Gracie took major exception to the scoring of the first round, which many observers scored for Diaz.
"I literally just got off my computer to watch that first round again," he said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "And I thought, you'd have to be insane to think a guy chasing the other guy down, landing the significant punches, and running after a guy, trying to fight a guy who will not fight, that is scared to fight, and you lose? How do I tell my fighter what he should have done better? It takes two men to fight. If one guy doesn't fight, that should be a point deducted."
Gracie said that the judges' scoring might have been personal rather than unbiased.
"I don't think the judges like Nick," he said. "He comes off, he talks in the ring… Carlos was running at one point, and Nick slapped him in the face said, 'Quit running.' We were there for a dogfight. Carlos said he’d provide for the fans a dogfight, a great fight where they were going to go at it. That was not a dogfight. It takes two to make a dogfight. One guy running away is not a dogfight.
"I don't know what the judges were looking at," he continued. "They’ve never liked Nick in Vegas. They've never voted for him in a decision. The only one was the BJ Penn fight, and he almost had to kill BJ to get that one. I don't think they like his attitude, a guy that's going to go out there and talk. I think they think he's disrespectful. They're going to find a reason to judge against him. I don't think he can get fair judging in that state at all."
Judges are independently appointed by each state's athletic commission. Last Saturday night's fight marked the fifth time Diaz has fought to a decision in Nevada, and he has lost four of them. In addition to the Condit bout, he lost three-rounders to Joe Riggs, Diego Sanchez and Karo Parisyan, with all three of those bouts coming between 2004-2006.
Gracie held back on criticism of Condit, except to say that he was "disappointed" in the way he fought after promising a war, but placed the blame for that on Condit's coaching staff.
"It's one thing to avoid standing in the pocket, it's one thing to know how to dodge punches and kicks, and be somewhat elusive and have great defense," he said. "It’s another thing to turn your back and run from a fighter. That's completely different. You shouldn't be telling your fighter to fight like that. I think it's a disgrace and a shame. I've said this before: I don't like that camp. I'm not going to take that back."
After the fight, Diaz said he might be done with mixed martial arts. Gracie has yet to speak with him in any depth about his future, but said he could understand Diaz's frustration in the moment.
Some have wondered whether an instant rematch would lure Diaz back. On Monday, Condit's manager Malki Kawa told MMA Fighting that his side wasn't interested in that.
That came as no surprise to Gracie.
"Of course they're not interested in a rematch," he said. "They lost the first one."
Gracie said he has yet to hear anything from UFC officials regarding a rematch, but that he would be on board for it. One prerequisite? A new location.
"The whole judging criteria is so flawed, and that these guys don't have anyone to answer to," he said. "Once they're in there, they're not getting reviewed. You're going to get fired because you're obviously an incompetent judge? That doesn't happen. It's like the Supreme Court. You're in there for life. You can do whatever you want and you can tell everybody basically to 'F off' if they don't like it. It's a position of total power. They're making decisions that are ruining the sport and are ridiculous. No one’s going to get them out of there. It's absurd if you think about it."
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