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chris@mmadecisions.com
Sunday, January 01, 2017

Another year has come and gone, and with it came another batch of contentious MMA decisions. This year, we have tightened the qualifying criteria such that only nine fights made the final list. Decisions which were omitted from the list due to those changes are reflected in the Honourable Mentions section.

Only decisions in which at least three quarters of the tracked media scores disagreed with the actual winner AND decisions in which at least three quarters of the submitted fan scorecards disagreed with the actual winner were included.



Without further ado, we present The 9 Most Disputed Decisions of 2016.

2016's Most Disputed Decisions
Agreement with Winner
# Fight Media Fans Avg. Winner's Judges Other Judge Notes
1Carvalho def. Manhoef0%5%3%Anderson, HindsBellOnly Non-UFC decision
2Bochniak def. Barzola0%8%4%Cooper, HagenTherien-
3Morono def. Noke6%10%8%D'Amato, LeeMorse-Jarman-
4Miller def. Lauzon7%10%9%Therien, WeeksHagen-
5Volkov def. Johnson0%20%10%Hughes, KobayashiLavery-
6Evans-Smith def. Reneau6%15%11%Adkins, LapcevicRogers-
7Taylor def. Ham18%11%14%Dimitriou, FieldC. Shen-
8Lawler def. Condit15%16%15%Cleary, LeeWeeksRecord Website Traffic
9Pickett def. Rivera17%17%17%Cartlidge, SutherlandMotylewskiHome-Country Decision

Honourable Mentions:


Most Disputed Judges

A couple judges attracted a bit more controversy than others in 2016:

  • Chris Lee sided with the winner in 2 of the 9 fights on the list. He also submitted scorecards in favour of the winner for 2 of the 6 fights on the honourable mentions list. Lee was the fourth-most active judge in 2016, submitting 37 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com.
  • Though Tony Weeks only submitted a scorecard for the winner in 1 of the 9 fights on the list, he also sided with the winner in 2 of the fights on the honourable mentions list. Weeks was the sixth-most active judge in 2016, submitting 32 scorecards tracked by MMAdecisions.com

Of note:

  • The judge with the most rendered decisions in 2016 without appearing on either the main list or honourable mentions was Jeff Mullen. Mullen submitted 33 scorecards in 2016 in his first year judging major fights since 2008.
  • The only fighter to appear on both this year's list and the 2015 list is Kyle Noke. Noke has now been on both the winning and losing sides of the list.
  • Though there were only 9 fights on this year's list, two events contributed two decisions to the list: UFC on Fox 21 (British Columbia, Canada) and UFC 195 (Nevada). Remarkably, two of the fights from the honourable mentions were also from UFC 195.
  • 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 three quarters of the tracked media scores disagreed with the actual winner AND decisions in which at least three quarters 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.
  • UFC Bias: Because of the dearth of media and fan scores in other organizations, very few non-UFC decisions meet the thresholds for consideration.

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