Josh Gross
Monday October 5th, 2009

Chase Beebe was robbed of a well-deserved victory over Mike Easton on Saturday in Fairfax, Va.

The bout, a five-round title fight for Easton's Ultimate Warrior Challenge bantamweight belt, was an untimely reminder that no matter how much mixed martial artists progress, American regulators have a long way to go.

Watching live, I scored it a convincing 49-46 for Beebe, who did enough to take Rounds 1, 3, 4 and 5. At worst, the former WEC 135-pound champion secured the last three periods with suffocating ground control. It may not have been explosive, but it certainly was effective. Or so I thought. Yet, to a chorus of boos from an audience near his hometown of Washington, D.C., Easton (8-1) was named the winner after 25 minutes.

The split-decision -- judges Brian Cunningham and Brian Costello scored it an unfathomable 49-46 for Easton, while Bill Osterman dissented with a more appropriate 48-47 in Beebe's favor -- soured what was otherwise a solid clash from a pair of fighters on the cusp of entering the top 10 at bantamweight.

Beebe (12-5), fighting out of Chicago in the same camp as Clay Guida, is the closer of the two. His control was undeniable, and though Easton had a few moments where he scrambled well, there were long periods in which he did nothing but listen to his corner as Beebe clung to his back.

Here's hoping for two things: First, Beebe opts not to walk away from the sport with a loss, as he told me he was considering doing Thursday; and second, the he come out healthy enough to make his next bout in Osaka, Japan, against Yoshiro Maeda on Dream 12.

Beyond that, the decision -- the kind that has driven people away from boxing (which is also in purview of the state-run agencies) -- overshadowed what turned out to be a great bout for the UWC 125-pound title between Pat Runez (3-0) and John Dodson (8-5). Runez won on points with a determined style that helped him overcome a 10-8 second period.

Beebe plans on filing a formal complaint with the Virginia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Program.

Antonio McKee (23-3-2) keeps on winning. People hate on his style -- and there's plenty to criticize -- but dismissing McKee's results is a mistake and it's unfair. He wins. Nothing flashy, but he wins. It would a shame if the 39-year-old Maximum Fighting Championships lightweight titleholder, who defeated Carlo Prater at MFC 22 last Friday, never had the chance to fight a name opponent. However, that seems to be his fate.

• Veteran UFC middleweights Travis Lutter (10-5) and Jason MacDonald (21-13) faced off Friday in Edmonton, Alberta, for what turned out to be uninspired performances from both men. In the end, Lutter did enough in his bid for relevancy to win a unanimous decision in the MFC 22 main event. "The Athlete" MacDonald continues to flounder, and is in need of wins and confidence.

Traveling internationally for titles and recognition is a way of life for American Joe Warren. Just two fights into his mixed martial arts career, the 2006 Greco-Roman world champion at 60 kilograms is once again vying for a title in a talent-laden grand prix.

Tuesday in Yokohama, Japan, Warren joins a Brazilian and two Japanese 139-pound fighters in the ring for the conclusion of Dream's featherweight tournament (airing live on HDNet at 7 a.m. ET), which began in March in Tokyo.

Of the four remaining competitors, Warren's road was easily the most interesting. In his first professional MMA fight, the confident 32-year-old slung a knee that that opened a gash on Chase Beebe's face and forced a doctor's stoppage. Five months later, Warren met the anointed non-American king of the 135-145-pound sphere, Norifumi Yamamoto. Warren, who, like Yamamoto, had fallen into trouble for using marijuana, willed himself to a decision victory -- the first time in 14 fights that "Kid" failed to win.

It's no wonder most fans are expecting Warren to walk through his toughest grappling challenge to date, against Bibiano Fernandes, before taking out either Hiroyuki Takaya or Hideo Tokoro. Should a semifinal winner get too banged up to continue, Kazuyuki Miyata or Daiki Hata could step in as a replacement.

Like Warren, Fernandes captured the Pan-Ams and World Championships in 2006, though his accomplishments came in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The 29-year-old Fernandes has lost twice in seven MMA fights, but considering he nearly submitted Urijah Faber and was the first fighter to go the distance with Yamamoto in four years, it's not a bad record.

I'm a big fan of Warren's effort and style. He was a violent wrestler and he's a violent mixed martial artist. And his experience running through five wrestling matches in one night to win a world championship won't hurt since he'll need two wins Tuesday.

When I asked Dan Henderson how good he thought Warren, a training partner and fellow Olympian, could do in MMA, he simply said, "Damn good."

We'll know tomorrow how smart that sounds.

One win will be enough for Shinya Aoki or Joachim Hansen, Nos. 2 and 5, respectively, in my lightweight rankings. They meet for the third time in their careers when Hansen attempts to make the first defense of his Dream lightweight title.

Aoki (21-4) drew first blood when he ushered in 2007 with a gogoplata of Hansen (19-7). Last summer, "Hellboy" returned the favor against one of the most dynamic submission fighters in MMA with a first-round stoppage, a win that earned him the Dream belt.

Hansen hasn't fought since, and returns to the ring following a 15-month hiatus. Assuming ring rust doesn't play a factor, Hansen possesses some obvious advantages besides the mental edge that comes with knocking an opponent silly: He's the better striker and is far more physical than Aoki. Still, Hansen is 6-4 since 2006 and Aoki is now entering his prime.

I'll take Hansen in a tight, well-fought contest.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.