Sho MMA marred by controversy
Fighting in the featured bout of
Rather than improving his record to 10-0 in front of his hometown fans in Fresno, Calif., Evangelista walked out of the cage with the first loss of his career. While referee
It's a worthwhile discussion. MMA is a high-paced sport, one of the most difficult in the world to officiate, offering multiple, sometimes confusing conclusions to a fight. It's safe to say everyone involved -- fighters, officials, promoters, fans, trainers and media -- wishes to see proper outcomes. Fans pay good money to attend events, and the last thing anyone should want is controversy to spoil the experience. Not only is it bad for business, it's terribly unfair to fighters who train weeks, sometimes months for competition.
Mixed martial artists deserve to know that doing something legal won't cost them a win, which is why it's easy to argue in favor of measures such as replay.
But is video playback really an answer?
Some in-ring officials embrace the concept. They argue in favor of pragmatism. Tools that might help them get it right deserve consideration, they claim. Others believe replay has no place in combat sports. Neither veteran officials nor video are infallible, said one championship-level referee and judge.
"I don't believe the commissions will allow it," he said, "and I don't think it's necessary." Controversial rulings "are the nature of the beast."
Not surprisingly, Evangelista's chief corner, American Kickboxing Academy's
Yet for as much as some MMA promoters want their events to be held under the guise of self-contained leagues, they simply don't have the authority to make determinations on issues like replay. It's not as simple as Strikeforce or the UFC offering video feedback like the NFL. That onus falls to regulatory bodies around the U.S., and, thus far, discussion of replay hasn't gone anywhere.
Tempting as it may be, instant replay is not a practical solution. In the case of Friday's card, which was broadcast in high-definition, the capability exists to revisit action via multiple camera angles. And while more fight cards are broadcast today than ever before, there remains a significant percentage that lack the advantage of quality television production.
What about those? How might a regulatory body go about making rules for replay if an event doesn't have the delivery capability?
Painful and inefficient as it may sound, the best "replay" for MMA is the kind that historically works pretty well in combat sports: a rematch. Considering Aina (12-6-1) said he won't accept the result as a win. a do-over seems the only route to a proper resolution -- presuming, that is, appointed officials actually get the job done.
• I've yet to hear a decent justification why women are relegated to three-minute rounds instead of the customary five. So long as they have enough experience, female mixed martial artists deserve to compete just the same as their male counterparts. Try telling
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