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Morning Report: Michael Bisping calls for accountability in MMA judging: ‘In any other walk of life if you do a sh*t job, you get fired’

Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping riles up the crowd
Esther Lin

Don’t say “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” around Michael Bisping.

This weekend, former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will return to the cage against Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7. It’s a much anticipated bout and one Bisping was discussing the fight on his Believe You Me podcast recently. During the preview, the conversation turned to Holloway’s most recent bout, a controversial decision loss to Alexander Volkanovski in their rematch this past year and the phrase “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” was uttered, which sent Bisping off on a tangent.

“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.”

MMA judging has been a source of constant frustration for fans and fighters in recent years, with seemingly every fight card having at least one head-scratching decision from the judges. In recent years, numerous MMA luminaries have offered a litany of ways to help fix it ranging from open scoring to adding more judges to having former fighters become judges, but for Bisping the solution to the problem is simple, it just needs to be enacted: accountability for screwing up.

“Almost every event there’s an outlandish fight that’s scored,” 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!”

The answer is likely fairly simple as well: there’s no money in it. Adding oversight to judging would be an increase in work for fairly minimal gain (and arguably tangible losses) from the commissions’ standpoints. Unfortunately for some fighters, that means they will come up on the wrong end of things from time to time and the best way to avoid it would, in fact, be to not leave their fates in the hands of the judges.


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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow



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