With all the questionable decisions happening in MMA lately, I decided to ponder the subject and found something quite disturbing.
Almost everyone you talk to will say there is a problem with judging in MMA. What if I told you that it may not be the judging and it’s actually a color bias. Crazy would you call me, Hmm? (In Yoda’s voice)
I looked at a total of 14 fights in the UFC and WEC that had questionable decisions going back to 2006. Four of those fights had to be thrown out because both fighters had the same color tape. (Which brings up another question, did the judges confuse the fighters in those fights?)
Out of the 10 remaining fights, 9 of the winners had red tape on their gloves versus 1 winner who had blue tape on his gloves. That’s 90% of the time the fighter with red tape on his gloves wins in a close fight.
There have been some studies done on the subject of color and it’s affects with regards to sports. Russell Hill and Robert Barton did a study in 2005 and examined the 2004 Olympic Games. They looked at Boxing, Tae-Kwon-Do, and Greco-Roman and Freestyle Wrestling and found that contestants wearing red won 55% of the time.
Charles Seife, of New York University, reanalyzed the findings from the Hill and Barton study and found that the uniform color handed out at the Olympics was not random and the higher ranked athlete was given red and this skewed the results of the study towards red.
So what’s the answer? If 90% of the time fighter with red tape on their gloves wins a questionable decision, I’ve got to say the color of the tape is having an effect on judging. Check out the fights and pictures below. Strange things are afoot and maybe Cecil Peoples knows what he’s doing.
Fights are ranked in my order of most questionable decisions:
1. UFC 104 (10/24/09) Lyoto Machida(Red) vs. Mauricio Rua (Blue) Winner: Machida – Decision (Unanimous)
2. WEC 48 (4/24/10) Chan Sung Jung (Blue)vs. Leonard Garcia (Red) Winner: Garcia – Decision (Split)
3. UFC 100 (7/11/09) Alan Belcher (Blue) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (Red) – Winner: Akiyama Decision (Split)
4. UFC 104 (11/14/09) Randy Couture (Red) vs. Brandon Vera (Blue) Winner: Couture
5. UFC 119 (9/25/10) Jeremy Stephens (Blue) vs. Melvin Guillard (Red) Winner: Guillard (Split)
6. UFC 98 (5/23/09) Matt Hughes (Red) vs. Matt Serra (Blue) Winner: Hughes – Decision (Unanimous)
7. UFC 96 (3/7/09) Keith Jardine (Blue) vs. Quinton Jackson (Red) Winner: Jackson – Decision (Unanimous)
8. UFC 114 (5/29/10) Diet Nog (Red) vs. Jason Brilz (Blue) Winner: Diet Nog – Decision (Split)
9. UFC 119 (9/25/10) Evan Dunham (Blue) vs. Sean Sherk (Red) Winner: Sherk – Decision (Split)
10. UFC 112 (4/10/10) Frankie Edgar (Blue) vs. BJ Penn (Red) 1 – Winner: Edgar – Decision (Unanimous)
Same Color Tape Section:
1.UFC 75 (9/8/07)- Matt Hamill (White) vs. Michael Bisping (White) Winner: Bisping – Decision (Split)
2. UFC 59 (4/15/06) Forrest Griffin (Red) vs. Tito Ortiz (Red) – Winner: Ortiz – Decision (Split)
3. Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale(4/11/06) Chris Lytle (White)vs. Matt Serra (White) –Winner: Serra – Decision (Split)
4. Ultimate Fight Night 4 (4/6/2006) Keith Jardine vs. Stephen Bonnar – Winner: Bonnar – Decision (Unanimous)