What we saw last night at UFC 247 was in this writer's opinion, a robbery. A robbery that no one could have seen coming, but a robbery none the less.
Everybody expected to see Jon Jones defeat Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC 247 in Houston, however it was expected to be a white wash and Reyes wasn't seen as a legitimate contender. The reason he wasn't seen as legit? Well he won a decision over Volkan Oezdemir that the MMA world did not like. Reyes also got his title shot after defeating Chris Weidman, who wasn't even ranked at Light Heavyweight. Regardless of those opinions, Reyes had his shot. The MMA world didn't like it, but who cares?
Reyes was seen as a huge underdog. Not one journalist or fan gave him a chance. It was heralded by many as too much too soon. Reyes has less than half of Jones's experience in the cage, with only 12 fights to his name before the title shot. Yes he was undefeated, but many felt he wasn't tested correctly.
Regardless fight night was coming and no one could have expected what happened next at UFC 247. For the first 3 rounds Reyes bobbed, weaved and used his intelligent footwork and head movement to out strike Jon Jones. Jones looked confused, particularly because Reyes looked so fast compared to Jones's former opponents. Reyes also did not look rattled by the occasion at all. Dominick was young, hungry and more than prepared to fight who many consider the greatest of all time.
These are the striking stats for rounds 1 - 3:
1st: Jones - 17 Reyes - 23
2nd: Jones - 22 Reyes - 33
3rd: Jones - 19 Reyes - 26
It should be noted that there were no takedowns in rounds 1-3 from either man and when Jones attempted takedowns in the third round, Reyes handily stuffed them.
Jones took over in the final two rounds. It went from being all Reyes to all Jones. Reyes looked tired and Jones is a veteran of 5 round championship fights. Jones didn't even look tired. Jones started to looked like the fighter we have come to know (not necessarily love, but respect too) and started out pointing his opponent on the feet. Jones then mixed in takedowns and attempted to clinch up more too.
Striking stats for rounds 4 - 5:
4th: Jones - 20 Reyes - 14
5th: Jones - 28 Reyes - 22
Regardless of Jones taking over, Reyes stayed in the fight. If he was taken down, he got back up. If he was getting lit up on the feet, he returned with a vicious counter. It became a dog fight. Jones has been there before, but Reyes hasn't and he most certainly showed he belongs in the 5 round fights. Another point regardless, is that Jon Jones only won 2 rounds. Stats don't lie.
Yet when it came time to get the judges scorecard it was 48-47 x 2 and a resounding 49-46, surely Reyes had tied this up. There was no way Jones won 4 rounds.....
"Annnnnnndddddd stilllllllllllllllllll" Bruce Buffer proclaimed as the belt was placed around Jon Jones's waist once again. I was stunned. Jones had faced Thiago Santos in a tough split decision win in his last fight, but for me this was more cut and dry. There is NO denying that Jones lost this. Once again, the stats are more than visible.
I have heard a few arguments since in Jones's favour. While I am willing to listen, it just doesn't make sense. Apparently Jones advancing counts for more than actual shots landed by Reyes to these people. These people don't know fighting. Compare this to boxing. If Mayweather were being judged by these rules, then he would be 40-10 now and not 50-0 and not considered the greatest to ever do it. The argument is completely invalid.
The problem here is not the fans who doubted Reyes, or Jon Jones for that matter. It is completely and utterly the judges fault. The same judges that night had debatable calls for the Giles vs Krause fight, the Murphy vs Lee fight and the Ewell vs Martinez fight. All were split decisions and all were called a farce by at least one person on social media.
So what can be done? In reality, nothing. Judging has been piss poor from the start of the sport. 25 years ago it was understandable. A new sport, with many different disciplines, all with different rule sets coming together, meant it would always have teething problems. It was decided 25 years ago to continue using systems set up by boxing commissions, as it was the closest thing to MMA. These are still being used by MMA commissions today. The commissions use judges who do weekend courses on grappling. They use judges who don't understand the rules in front of them. They use judges who don't have any combat experience. All these are problems.
The biggest problem of all though is that some judges don't even watch the fights. During the Andrea Lee vs Lauren Murphy fight, Joe Rogan pointed it out live on air. For a full 3o seconds, one of the judges wasn't even watching the fight. How the fuck can you score anything if you won't even look!!
It's time the commissions smartened up. Judges need to be educated. This many years into the sport we could hire former fighters, former journalists or even extremely educated fans. Why the commissions continue to employ complete and utter dummies with no interest in the sport, I'll never understand. This is what we have today. So I urge anyone who reads this to contact any MMA commission, but particularly the Texas and New York commissions to sort this mess out. The more pressure they have to get better, the better they will have to be.