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chris@mmadecisions.com
Monday, December 28, 2015

In an effort to focus on the crème de la crème of controversial decisions, the criteria for defining this year's list has been made more strict (see below). The result is the following 12-fight list of The Most Disputed Decisions of 2015:



2015's Most Disputed Decisions
Winner Agreement
# Fight Media Fans Avg. Winner's Judges Other Judge Notes
1Holbrook def. Nijem0%2%1%Caldwell, WinterPuccillo-
2Prazeres def. Lazaro0%3%2%Rosales, UrsoSilbert-
3Dariush def. Johnson0%10%5%Bertrand, CrosbyD'Amato-
4Pendred def. Spencer0%12%6%Colon, Crosby, Ginsberg-Away-country decision
5Nover def. Nam8%12%10%Craig, PapaionnouFoley-
6Romero def. Souza12%17%15%Trowbridge, WeeksGriffin-
7Lahat def. Bäckström14%17%16%Sutherland, VogtCollett-
8Carmouche def. Murphy23%10%16%Bello, Tirelli, Urso--
9Iaquinta def. Masvidal13%25%19%Tirelli, UrsoCrosby-
10Trinaldo def. Parke8%30%19%Frank, WinterLeeHome-Country Decision
11Noke def. Webb18%22%20%Foley, KeechC. ShenHome-Country Decision
12Medeiros def. Makdessi21%20%21%Griffin, RosalesD'AmatoHome-Country Decision

Honourable Mentions:


Most Disputed Judges*

Several judges attracted more controversy than others in 2015:

  • Cardo Urso submitted scorecards for the winner in 3 of the 12 fights on the list. He also submitted scorecards in favour of the winner for 2 of the 7 fights on the honourable mentions list. Urso submitted 19 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
  • Douglas Crosby sided with the winner in 2 of the 12 fights on the main list and another fight on the honourable mentions list. Those three fights were among the most high-profile fights on those lists (Pendred/Spencer, Dariush/Johnson, Cerrone/Henderson). Crosby submitted 9 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
  • Marcos Rosales favoured the winner in 2 of the 12 fights on the list. He also submitted scorecards in favour of the winner for 2 of the 7 fights on the honourable mentions list. Rosales submitted 30 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
  • Rick Winter and Dave Tirelli sided with the winner in 2 of the 12 fights on the list. Both judges only submitted 8 scorecards each in those fights tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
* - Appearing on this list does not imply substandard performance. It is an objective list of judges who submitted scorecards for the winner in multiple fights on the main list.

Least Disputed Judges

  • Sal D'Amato did not side with the winner in any of the 12 fights on the main list. Though, he did submit a scorecard for the winner of one fight on the honourable mentions list. This is a dramatic departure from the past two years, in which D'Amato was the largest contributor to the disputed-decisions lists. Once again, D'Amato was the most prolific of all judges, submitting scorecards for 51 fights tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
  • Derek Cleary did not side with the winner or loser in any of the fights on both the main list and the honourable mentions list. He was the second-most active judge of the year, submitting a total of 47 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com in 2015.
  • Chris Lee was the third busiest judge of the year in 2015, submitting 31 scorecards tracked by this site. Like Cleary, Lee did not submit a scorecard for a winner in any of the fights on the year's lists.

Of note:

  • The only fighter to lose fights on each of the past two years' lists is John Makdessi.
  • Excluding honourable mentions, the only fighter to win fights on each of the past two years' lists is Cathal Pendred.
  • Including honourable mentions, Rafael Natal was on the list in each of the past two years. He won both those decisions. Both decisions took place in the country of his opponent.
  • Though there were only 12 fights on this year's list, two events contributed two decisions to the list: UFC Fight Night 63 (Virginia) and UFC 194 (Nevada).
  • The list of honourable mentions includes fights that would have made the main list if the previous year's criteria were used.

Home-Country Decisions**

"Home-Country Decisions", by definition, they are those fights in which the winner hailed from the country in which the fight was held, and his/her opponent was from another country. Conversely, if the loser was from the event's country and his/her opponent was from elsewhere, the fight was marked as an "away-country decision".

** - Marking these fights as such does not imply that the judges held a geographical bias of any sort; it is merely an objective observation.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria was made more strict in 2015 compared to previous years:

  • Only decisions in which at least two thirds of the tracked media scores disagreed with the actual winner AND decisions in which at least two thirds of the submitted fan scorecards disagreed with the actual winner were included.
  • A fight must have a minimum of 6 media scores.
  • A fight must have a minimum of 15 fan scorecards.
  • Draws were excluded.
  • Only fights from Bellator, KSW, World Series of Fighting and the UFC were considered.

Sources of Bias

There are several possible sources of bias that could have affected the members and order of this list. Those sources include:

  • Loser Bias: Fans who disagree with the outcome are more likely to submit a scorecard than those who are content with the decision.
  • Geographical Bias (Fans): Sometimes certain countries generate more traffic than others, which could lead to a bias in fan voting. MMAdecisions.com recently added a country-based chart of fan-submitted scorecards, which exposes any potential geographical bias.
  • Geographical Bias (Media): The media scorecards tracked on this site are predominantly submitted by US-based media members.
  • Small Sample Size: with thresholds set at 6 media members and 15 fan scorecards, it is quite possible that those small thresholds could yield results that vary significantly from the general MMA populace.

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