Anyone who tuned in for the main event of Ultimate Fighting Championship’s UFC 143 last Saturday was treated to an intriguing fight with a controversial result.
The main event featured Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit fighting for a share of the Welterweight Championship. Titleholder Georges St-Pierre was supposed to face Diaz at the event, but he was sidelined with an injury.
Fans saw five five-minute rounds of action between the two during which Diaz was clearly the aggressor while Condit was consistently backpedaling.
The end result: Condit was declared the victor by unanimous decision.
It was a close match that saw Condit land 36 more strikes than Diaz. Many of these strikes were relatively ineffective kicks to the legs, but they still counted.
Two of the three judges believed that Condit won four rounds, giving him the victory.
This decision has left the UFC in an unfortunate spot.
What the UFC has done is tell its fans that a fighter who shies away from action can not only win a fight—but also hold part of a championship.
By virtue of his victory, Condit will face St-Pierre for the Welterweight Championship in a future event.
This means that fans will be paying to see another fight where one competitor runs away from the other.
This is not what the UFC is about.
I am not looking for every UFC bout to end with one fighter sprawled out on the mat while the other bleeds profusely.
However, individuals who choose ultimate fighting as a career are expected to stand their ground and try to out-fight their opponents.
Getting out of harm’s way is a tactic that should be employed when necessary during a bout.
Avoiding any and all forms of confrontation in a sport based on confrontation should not be rewarded with a title belt.
If one of the UFC’s championships is being (partially) held by an individual who spent a large portion of his fight running from his opponent, who says the rest of the promotion’s titles cannot be attained in the same fashion?
I would venture to guess that most fighters do not enjoy being punched in the face or kicked in the knees.
But it is what they signed up for.
The UFC needs to subtract points from fighters who consistently run away during fights. This was done to Jamie Varner in UFC 62.
It is a fair solution that will make the fighters fight, entertain the fans and keep money flowing toward the UFC.