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Donald Cerrone gets royally screwed over by Texas judges

By Zach Arnold | October 10, 2009

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That was, realistically, a 49-46 win for Cerrone (four rounds to one) over Ben Henderson. And how did the judges score the fight? 48-47 unanimously for Henderson.

Don’t get me wrong – Ben Henderson showed tremendous heart and flexibility, as much as Clay Guida did against Diego Sanchez. However, Cerrone was the aggressor with the submission attempts and he stayed on offense most of the way. Henderson was not even in Cerrone’s level in terms of finishing the fight.

What a horrible decision by Texas officials. The referee’ng was very spotty as well.

Jordan Breen:

That’s MMA for you. Fight of the year still ends in a bullshit decision. I’m going to go watch boxing and cry in the closet now.

Josh Gross:

Very fun fight. Scored it even heading into the 5th, which was clearly Cerrone’s. Getting tired of judges overlooking close sub attempts. First round was very tight and you could make a good case either way. Too much weight for a TD. Not enough for someone who stands or reverses.

Topics: Media, MMA, WEC, Zach Arnold | 74 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

74 Responses to “Donald Cerrone gets royally screwed over by Texas judges”

  1. BSP says:

    Henderson won rounds 1-3, and Cerrone took the last two. It was a close (and great) fight, but I thought the decision was right on the money. In fact, it’s rare to see three judges get it right in the same bout. One could argue that Cerrone took 3 rounds, but 4? Sorry, no.

    It was a classic fight with a good decision. And it also reminded me why I love Cerrone’s fights — he’s incapable of being boring.

  2. Brad Wharton says:

    Has Zach actualy qualified which four rounds he thinks Cerrone won? If not, could he?

    I’ve yet to see a single anyone else (even on MMA forums) score four rounds to ‘Cowboy’.

  3. Mark says:

    Meltzer’s track record of calling fights is spotty at best, considering that there’s little if any actual record of the man analyzing a fight. I’m not even going to bother touching that second part. Its too comical. Sad part is I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened.

    He almost never analyzes the fights, most of his play by play analyzes crowd reactions than analyzing strategies. I guess he sees the ridiculousness of Bryan “Super Chico~!” Alvarez offering fight advice in his reviews and doesn’t want to go there. But that’s part of Bryan’s charm is he doesn’t seem to realize people are laughing at him and not with him.

  4. Oh Yeah says:

    I value sub attempts to a point, but I view them somewhat like trying to hit a homerun. You either get it over the fence or it’s just a long fly ball.

    And I have to disagree when people say that guard is a neutral position. If you gave any fighter the choice of bottom or top position, they would take top undoubtedly. You can finish a fight from bottom, but the control, positioning and striking are all generally dictated by the fighter on top.

    Last – Cerrone is a beast. He really marginalizes guys like Varner and Henderson. Even when they blast him with shots that would floor 99% of other LWs (BJ excluded), he doesn’t even flinch. That’s where he managed to sway some people in R1.

    Not that he isn’t talented, but if Cowboy’s stamina and durability were any less he would have been finished in 3 rounds in both of his past two fights.

  5. jj says:

    “In my mind, if there are people who say that they had the fight for one fighter and other people say that they had it for the other fighter, then you cannot really call it a robbery.”

    With that kind of logic there could never be a robbery or a bad decision.

  6. Mark says:

    I don’t mean to disrupt the thread, but I just wanted to point out CBS was advertising the Strikeforce show a few times during football yesterday. The ads weren’t very effective IMO, they were less than 30 seconds and just showed Fedor working a punching bag and announcing he was the best fighter in the world. They didn’t even mention who he was fighting.

    And on another side note, CBS’s favorite announcer Gus Johnson showed that he went to the Jim Ross school of broadcasting so bad even ESPN was mocking him for his screaming today.

  7. Steve4192 says:

    “If only Cowboy had raised his hands at the end, it might have been enough to sway the judges…”

    The judges turn in their scorecards after every round, and Cerrone won the 5th round on every judges scorecard.

    I don’t see how raising his hands would changed anything.

  8. […] fight has stirred up quite a bit of controversy. A lot of people feel Cowboy won the fight — some even say it was a “bullshit” decision, Cowboy was robbed, screwed, etc. — but I thought it was just really close and could have gone either way. While I wouldn’t […]

  9. jj says:

    “I don’t see how raising his hands would changed anything.”

    He was being sarcastic.

  10. Brad Wharton says:

    @ jj: “With that kind of logic there could never be a robbery or a bad decision.”

    Of course there could. A robbery is when fight that is cut and dry for all to see is given to the wrong fighter by two or more judges to the chargrin of *everyone*.

    If there are one or more rounds that are massivly open to debate, to the point that the viewing public are split on the outcome of the fight, *that* is when you can’t call it a robbery.

  11. big boi says:

    the fightmetric is out and really does not support anyone calling this fight a robbery.

  12. Steve4192 says:

    I think Zach wishes he could have this post back.

    His silence on which four rounds he thinks Cerrone won is deafening.

  13. Steve says:

    ya think a guy called Cowboy woulda got the nod Texas

  14. Brad Wharton says:

    @ Steve 4192:

    “I think Zach wishes he could have this post back.

    His silence on which four rounds he thinks Cerrone won is deafening.”

    Either that, or it was a deliberatelly inflamatory remark intended to generate traffic, in which case, well played!!

  15. jj says:

    \”Of course there could. A robbery is when fight that is cut and dry for all to see is given to the wrong fighter by two or more judges to the chargrin of *everyone*.\”

    Thanks for your opinion on what a robbery is, now go back and re-read what he said but apply some common sense this time around.

  16. Ultimo Santa says:

    Apparently in American MMA scoring:

    – 1 takedown = 100 clean strikes landed

    – submission attempt from bottom = nothing

    – 1 takedown attempt > stuffing a takedown

    – 1 successful takedown (even if it leads to little or no offence) > 3+ submission attempts

    – escaping a submission > attempting one

    – standing/lying in guard and not attempting to pass or finish for more than 50% of a round = automatic 10-9 round

    By this criteria, which is apparently what WEC scores by, Ben Henderson was the clear winner.

  17. archerD says:

    IceMuncher Says:
    I think people over-value submission attempts. The reason why it’s a submission “attempt”, rather than an actual submission is because either A) you didn’t do it right, or B) the other guy defended it properly. Honestly, how close to a finish is it, if it was impossible for you to finish the fight due to one of the above reasons. In my opinion, not very close at all. It’s worth points, but it’s not worth a lot.

    Gotta agree with this. ATTEMPTING is a try and fail. Escaping submissions IS greater because you just saved your butt from getting finished.

  18. Ultimo Santa says:


    Attempting a submission is a) an attempt to finish a fight, and b) putting yourself at risk to attempt the finish.

    That should count for something.

    Imagine if every fighter fought like Ben Henderson (or Dan Henderson, or Gray Maynard, etc.) You’d see nothing but takedowns, no attempt to pass guard or finish, no submission attempts, and some sloppy boxing to top it off.

  19. Oh Yeah says:

    Yeah, no submission attempts like when Huerta put his arm behind his back and asked Maynard to wrench it for him.

    GSP doesn’t use many submissions either. Perhaps he should be banished as well.

  20. Ultimo Santa says:

    I don’t think I’d lump in GSP with one-dimensional guys who can only wrestle. He has several submission wins and very dynamic striking.

    My point is that when the rules, the octagon, and clearly the scoring system all heavily favor wrestling, it encourages fighters to do just what Ben Henderson did: not pass guard, not go for submissions, and do nothing more than attempt takedowns and wing punches.

    The more fighters get wise to this, the more lay-and-pray we`re going to see.

  21. jj says:

    I just re-watched the fight. Based on the 10 point must system scoring for striking, grappling, aggression, and cage control it goes to to Cerrone 48-47. R1 is a draw. R2 & R3 go to Henderson 10-9 for both. R4 goes to Cerrone 10-9. And R5 goes to Cerrone 10-8. He controlled all aspects of the fight in the last round and was seriously dominant in the grappling and aggression.

    If it was in Japan it would go to Cerrone no doubt. Even against a Japanese fighter. Well, most Japanese fighters.

  22. I guess we can also add shogun/machida to the silly decision list.

    It was a good fight imo though

  23. zet says:

    cerrone won, the ref should have stopped the fight in the 4th or 5th rounds due to the fact the those arm cranks could have broken his arm and of course cerrone or anyother fighter knows how far they can take them without doing damage. its unfortunate that a brute who lives by reckless abandonment for his limbs will stay and take that abuse because he knows the other fighter wont rip his arm off.
    there should be a new rule where the refs stop the fight as they do from multiple strikes to save a fighter.

  24. venum mma says:

    I think organisations like the UFC should have a “finish fight” bonus and a smaller appearance fee for each bout taking the decision away from the judges.


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