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If You Have a Problem With Lyoto Machida, Your Problem Is With MMA Judging

Four days after he defeated Tito Ortiz at UFC 84, I'm sensing a growing backlash against Lyoto Machida.

Machida is 5-0 since joining UFC and undefeated in his 13-fight mixed martial arts career. But, as I alluded to after watching him Saturday night, Machida tends to back away during his fights, rather than force the action. Some people find that boring. Dan Stupp thinks Machida is bad for UFC; some observers have even compared him to Kalib Starnes, who became the laughingstock of MMA after running away for three rounds at UFC 83.

But that's ridiculous.


FightMetric.com makes clear just how ridiculous:
There simply is no comparison. Starnes landed 15 strikes in the entire fight. Machida landed more than 15 strikes in each of the three rounds of the fight. There's a difference between avoiding action and picking your shots.
Machida has won four of his five UFC fights by unanimous decision, and if the people who complain about Machida don't like that, they should really be complaining about the way MMA is judged. Want to propose a different standard for judging rounds in MMA, a standard that heavily rewards aggression and doesn't reward deliberate, tactical fighters? Fine. But until that standard can be implemented, Machida will remain one of the sport's top light heavyweights because he deserves to be.