By Zach Arnold | December 4, 2010
And I’m not even talking about the judges who scored the Nam Phan/Leonard Garcia fight in Las Vegas, either. (More on that in a minute.)
The immediate reaction to my thoughts about both Scott Smith and Matt Lindland needing to retire is that Smith should get a pass as long as he goes back to Middleweight, but that yes, Matt should call it a career. I think an argument can be made for both. Smith suffered yet another brutal knockout in his career, this time at the hands of Paul Daley. Lindland also suffered a sub-one minute KO loss to Robbie Lawler who was in target practice mode the entire time. Given the relative weakness Scott Coker has displayed in the past in standing up to fighters, I expect both men to continue getting booked. Realistically, they shouldn’t be booked for any more bouts after tonight’s showing in St. Louis.
The accumulation of punishment that both Smith and Lindland have endured over the span of their MMA careers is remarkable. They should not get future bookings simply because watching them get knocked out is fun or entertaining. This is a violent sport and it’s a sport where fighters figure out the realities of their careers and health way too late after the fact when the damage is already done.
I get it. MMA writers, for the most part, shouldn’t think they are entitled to tell a fighter who puts his health on the line in a fight to be an arbiter as to when that fighter should hang up the gloves. However, the body of evidence for both Smith and Lindland to call it quits before they suffer permanent brain damage is mounting fast.
As for the horrible MMA judging on display in Las Vegas tonight for the Nam Phan/Leonard Garcia fight, all I can say is that Garcia has some sort of magical spell that he puts on American MMA judges. (See: His fight from April against The Korean Zombie.) His technique is horrible and he swings like a wild man, yet a boxing judge like Tony Weeks of all people rewards him with a decision win over Nam Phan. The look and reaction on Phan’s face after the decision was priceless. It was so bad, Spike TV utterly failed at bleeping out
‘bullshit’ chants by the crowd. It was so bad, Joe Rogan used the second round of the pedestrian Johny Hendricks/Rick Story fight to tee off on Keith Kizer.
(Heckuva job, Keith. Hell of a week, too, for the Barney Fife of MMA. People are laughing at you, not with you.)
“It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on fighters not knowing what kind of officiating you are getting. … It’s gross. You should be able to leave it in the hands of the judges. The Nevada State Athletic Commission, that’s what it is. Keith Kizer has denied that there’s an issue. … I think he needs to clean house. … It’s sheer, complete, total incompetence. Send e-mails, write blogs, get online…”
The one judge who got the Phan decision right was Japanese.