Insignificant strikes

There's been a whole lot written about last Saturday's UFC welterweight championship match in which Georges St. Pierre "defended" his title against Johny Hendricks.  First, I want to make it completely clear that I am a GSP fan.  We're both karate guys.  He's always come off as a classy fellow and a great champion.  There's a serious problem with last Saturday's fight.  I watched it, and I had this fight scored 49-46 for Hendricks.  GSP looked like he'd been through a meat grinder by the end of the match.  Hendricks looked like he'd maybe gone for a jog.  This had been the foughest fight the champ had been in for a quite a while.  Yet, the judges gave GSP the win in a split decision.

There's some serious problems going on here.  This is the second title fight I've seen recently with some really questionable judges decisions.  Last fight was Jon Jones' defense again Alexander Gusstafson.  That fight was incredibly close and two judges giving it to Jones 48-47.  The last judge gave it to Jones 49-46, which was complerely nuts and spawned jokes that the judge in question was paid off by either Gatoraide or Nike (who both sponsor Jones).

That match raised a few eyebrows, but it was understandable that Jones had done enought to keep the belt.  The GSP/Hendricks fight is a completely different story.  This raises a lot of troubling questions, mainly, was this rigged?

The problem here was not GSP.  He fought with everything he had, and doesn't control the judges.  He seemed surprised as well with the decision.

The problem is not with the UFC and Dana White, because they do not get to pick the judges.  MMA walks a fine line.  They have to stay sanctioned with the athletic commisions of various states so they can keep holding events in them.  They don't dare rig or work a fight because White knows full well that's one of things that screwed boxing.  Yes, things are set up to make a bit of drama, but once those two fighter get in that cage there is no script.  If people get the very notion that this is rigged then the whole franchise is doomed.

The problem lies squarely with the judges, and the UFC has no control over them.  They don't get to pick them.  White doesn't seem to trust many of them, especially in Nevada where the fight took place.  I've seen some of these score card and have watched the fights they go with.  One of the things that fighters are scored on is "significant strikes".  I've been in martial arts since I was kid.  I've put on the gloves.  I've gotten concussions and cracked ribs.  I know what a significant strike is.  A significant strike does something.  It causes damage and/or knocks the other person back a bit.  Judges are declaring strikes significant that fighters are moving away from avoiding the brunt of the blow and sometimes the strike is completely blocked.  As mean as it sounds, many of these judges really need to get punched in the face just so they know what a significant strike is.

Dana White has said he's really hesitant about holding any more matches in Vegas after this.  That should be enough for the Nevada athletic commission to get the hint and look into this, but I doubt they will.  The only thing governments like better than money and power is red tape.  Fortunately, there's many other states that sanction UFC events.  Love to have them come to Norfolk.  That's the smartest move right now for the UFC.  The judges in that state are bad, so stay out of that state.

Other sports have their own referees and judges.  What would be best is if the UFC could get a bunch of judges that they know are going to be solid and get them sanctioned in the states they're holding fights.  I don't know how difficult that is going to be though.

There's been so much drama and speculation around this fight, and much of that is around the decision.  There's the "Hendricks tapped" dopes who must be really new to the sport to think Hendricks tapped in the first round.  There's rumors that UFC wanted GSP to remain champ because he's more marketable and will be in the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER movie.  There's GSP's remarks about him needing some time away from the sport.  Its a whole big mess.

One thing is completely clear though: the scoring system in MMA needs to get a good hard look and things need to change.  Johny Hendricks got completely screwed over, and that shouldn't happen in any title fight.


I went into this movie a little tentative.  I loved the first Thor movie.  THE AVENGERS picked up very well from that.  I really did not like IRONMAN 3, and I was hoping that this movie would redeem the Marvel stage 2 for me.  I got exactly what I wanted.  I loved every bit of this movie.  

For those wondering what's the 411 on this and haven't seen it, its been two years since the events of the first movie.  We also find out what happened when Loki was returned to Asgard at the end of THE AVENGERS.  Beings called the Dark Elves who were defeated by forces led by Thor's grandfather are setting to return to destroy the "Nine Realms" which does include Asgard and Earth.  

Everything in this movie is bigger than the first movie.  The first movie was more Earth centered.  In this film you see so much more of Asgard, and its all absolutely stunning.  The effects in the film were very well done.  The amount of production and post production that went into this really show in the final product.  Of course, being me, I love the fight scenes, and there's plenty of those to be had.

Chris Hemsworth once again did a wonderful job playing Thor.  Yes ladies, he does take his shirt off.  I know this is important to many of you.  That aside, he really delivered with everything asked of him be it the big action heroics, the heavy drama, the romantic parts, and the humor.  Natalie Portman is great as Jane who is once again in way over her head (not a short joke, honest) but shows a lot of guts in dealing with the fantastic things she's experiencing.  Anthony Hopkins shows a lot fo gravity and restraint in playing Odin.  It would be so easy to go over the top with the role.  Chris Eccleston plays the big bad in this and he's quite monstrous in his quest to destroy everything.  There's no liking this villain.  

Three people in this really made this a memorable movie for me.  Kat Dennings as Darcy was a joy.  For the most part she was comedy relief, but she so great here that you can't help smiling whenever she's on screen.  Rene Russo as Frigga was magnificent.  She was quite under used in the first film, but this movie gives her these really great scenes that made a lasting impression on me.  Finally, I have to talk about Tom Higgleston as Loki.  Yes, I know there's a lot of fan-girling over him.  I wasn't too sure about how they were going to be using him in this film.  Tom Higgleston gave an amazing performance, and he's given so much great material to work with.  The character's motivations are constantly questioned both by the other characters in the film and the audience.  He keeps everyone guessing, but is so consistent that who can really latch onto him as a character.  The actor has gotten a lot of praise for the role, and earns every bit of it.

This movie had a lot of action and drama.  Outstanding effects.  The final battle was completely nuts, but I loved every bit of it.  They also did a great job in lightening things up with great humor at all the right times.  There were real laugh out lot moments.

Lastly, this movie succeeded where IRONMAN 3 failed.  IM3 felt like a final chapter, as if that part of the Marvel Universe was closing down.  This movie expanded on thing in the finale which will leave viewers wanting more.  Also, make sure to hang in for both of the bonus scenes.  The first one mid-credits surprised the crap out of me.  The one at the end of the credits was a lot of fun.

Great film.  I'd pay to see it in theaters again.