MMA referee’s are required to take a judging course. Thus, as opinions on the way a decision goes they have another front-row perspective on fights.
Mario Yamasaki, the referee of the controversial UFC 167 event between Georges St. Pierre v. Johny Hndricks, gave his view of who won. Considering his experience in the game and proximity to the action, his opinion may be the closest thing fans can get to a judge’s official explanation.
In comments reported by MMA Fighting, Yamasaki saw it all Hendricks. In fact, he described Hendricks as having ‘dominated’.
“I’m inside the cage so I can’t see the fight as the judge sees it, but I thought Hendricks won the fight. I thought Hendricks dominated the fight, it was brutal, and I was surprised when they gave St-Pierre the win. But I’m not the judge. I look at the fight with different eyes.”
Yamasaki’s comments are not far off from those of many experts who feel Hendricks simply hurt GSP with a ton of power shots and conversely was never threatened by the champion in similar fashion. Except, further explanation draws an interesting parallel to why St. Pierre was awarded the fight.
“The first round was slow and could have gone either way. Hendricks dominated the second one. The third was close and could also go either way, and the judges gave it to St-Pierre. When the fight was over, I thought Hendricks won every round except the last one,” he said. “But I have to watch the fight again to analyze it as a judge.”
As The FD explained, via a breakdown on the scorecards provided by Bleacher Report, this is exactly the way the judges saw it in favor of the champion. Yamasaki said the first round could have gone either way – close as it was, two judges scored GSP as winning the first thus giving him the round. The third was close as well, bu the judges again gave it to GSP. Then Yamasaki admits that he felt GSP won the fifth, which the judges did as well. That makes three rounds for GSP – razor-thin or not – to Hendricks’ two.
Therefore, losing two close rounds does not make up for two dominating ones, unfortunately for Hendricks. It all draws more controversy towards the state of MMA judging whereby razor-thin mathematics can stump a great fight.