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chris@mmadecisions.com
Monday, December 29, 2014

For the second year in a row, MMADecisions.com has compiled a list of the most disputed MMA decisions of the year. And once again, there were lots of contentious decisions to choose from.

Without further ado, here are The Most Disputed Decisions of 2014 (commentary follows):

2014's Most Disputed Decisions
Winner Agreement
# Fight Media Fans Avg. Winner's Judges Other Judge Notes
1Sanchez def. Pearson0%4%2%Collins, TellezRosalesHome-country decision
2Bessette def. Nunes0%4%2%Tirelli, ColonMinorHome-country decision
3Strickland def. Barnatt0%12%6%Haigh, HughesCollett-
4Kunimoto def. Walsh0%12%6%Papaioannou, WeeksCollettHome-country decision
5Zhang def. Sai10%4%7%Hughes, WattsHarris-
6Brooks def. Chandler8%8%8%Anderson, HindsIngle-
7Ellenberger def. Moontasri0%17%9%Munoz, SolizMartinez-
8Alves def. Jouban8%17%12%Borges, Moura, Silbert-Home-country decision
9Doane def. Brimage8%21%15%Kamijo, RosalesD'Amato-
10Moraga def. Ortiz0%30%15%Bertrand, MannTrowbridge-
11Patrick def. Makdessi0%33%17%Almeida, Sanidad, Urso--
12Arlovski def. Schaub7%32%20%D'Amato, TherienWeeks-
13Henderson def. Thomson19%24%21%D'Amato, PuccilloSabaitis-
14Jackson def. Lawal8%34%21%Anderson, Hinds, Leo--
15Beltran def. Vera10%40%25%Bertrand, Crosby, D'Amato-Home-country decision
16Natal def. Camozzi15%38%26%D'Amato, SanidadTrowbridgeAway-country decision
17Hester def. Neto18%33%26%Martinez, SolizD'AmatoHome-country decision
18Pendred def. Umalatov36%19%28%Collett, GunnarssonSutherland-
19Green def. Richman17%40%28%Colon, Minor, Urso--
20Ortiz def. Borg27%33%30%Cleary, LeeGomez-
21Stringer def. Barroso23%39%31%Amaral, BravoBertrandAway-country decision
22Ortiz def. Scoggins36%33%35%D'Amato, LeeByrd-
23Green def. Thomson40%37%38%Collantes, VierraBell-

Parallels between 2013 and 2014

There were several eerie similarities between this year's list and the 2013 list.

  • In both years, exactly 23 fights qualified for the list.
  • A Diego Sanchez fight topped the list each time. In 2013, Sanchez/Gomi was the year's most disputed decision, while in 2014, Sanchez/Pearson led the way.
  • The judge that appeared on both year's lists the most was Sal D'Amato. Remarkably, in both years, he sided with the winner in 5 fights and sided with the loser in 2 fights.
  • In each year, there were 7 fights in which the media were unanimous in their disagreement with the victor.

Fighters Appearing Multiple Times

While Diego Sanchez appeared at the top of the list each of the past two years, there were two fighters who appeared multiple times on this year's list alone.

  • Josh Thomson: He came up short twice in two close decisions to Benson Henderson and Bobby Green. Though most agreed the Green fight could have gone either way, it still barely met the criteria for this list and was the 23rd and final entry.
  • Dustin Ortiz: Amazingly, three of Dustin Ortiz' 2014 fights made it to this year-end list. He went 2-1 in those fights, losing a split decision against John Moraga and winning split decisions against Justin Scoggins and Ray Borg.

Events with Multiple Entries

In spite of only accounting for four of the 23 entries on the list, Bellator was the only organization with two events that contributed multiple entries.

Home-Country Decisions*

For the first time, "home-country decisions" have been noted. 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

The same criteria used to create the list in 2013 were applied to generate this year's list:

  • Only decisions in which at least 60% of the tracked media scores disagreed with the actual winner AND decisions in which at least 60% 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 10 fan scorecards.
  • Draws were excluded.
  • Only fights from Bellator, Cage Warriors, 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. For example, the Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Cláudia Gadelha fight led to a distinct increase in website traffic from Poland. Fan voting from that country was likely biased in the Pole's favour, ensuring Jedrzejczyk's fan scorecards were kept above the 40% threshold.
  • Geographical Bias (Media): Though MMADecisions.com made an effort in 2014 to include more international media scorers, 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 10 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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