UFC 165 Jones vs Gustafsson main event scorecards controversy
By Mike ChiappettaFoxSports
The scoring of the UFC 165 main event fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson has been under the microscope since Jones was announced as the unanimous decision winner, giving him a record sixth UFC light-heavyweight championship title defense. Until now though, only the total scores have been public.
On Monday morning, Richard Hustwick of Ontario’s Office of the Athletics Commissioner released the judges’ round-by-round scoring to FOX Sports. Here are those scores:
Judge Chris Lee Rd. 1: Gustafsson 10-9 Rd. 2: Jones 10-9 Rd. 3: Jones 10-9 Rd. 4: Jones 10-9 Rd. 5: Jones 10-9
Judge Richard Bertrand Rd. 1: Gustafsson 10-9 Rd. 2: Jones 10-9 Rd. 3: Gustafsson 10-9 Rd. 4: Jones 10-9 Rd. 5: Jones 10-9
Judge Doug Crosby Rd. 1: Gustafsson 10-9 Rd. 2: Gustafsson 10-9 Rd. 3: Jones 10-9 Rd. 4: Jones 10-9 Rd. 5: Jones 10-9
Interestingly, Gustafsson would have won the bout if it was a three-rounder, as he was up 29-28 on two cards before Jones swept the championship rounds to retain the belt. I personally scored the first and third for Gustafsson and rounds 2, 4 and 5 for Jones, making it 48-47 for the champion.
There has already been a narrative taking hold that Gustafsson was robbed. In a way, the sentiment is understandable. He fought the fight of his life. As a massive underdog, he took the champion to the brink in ways we’ve never experienced or even expected. But the thought he was robbed is frankly incorrect, if only because the fight had some rounds with razor thin margins.
Statistical site FightMetric, which scores fights using a proprietary algorithm called “Total Performance Rating” scored the fight 49-48 for Jones, which is an interesting result for illustrating just how narrow the talent gap between them was on Saturday night. Both rounds 2 and 3 were scored as 10-10 draws, while round 1 went to Gustafsson and rounds 4 and 5 went to Jones.
Most of the media scored the fight for Jones. Here is a sample of media scores:
FOX Sports: Jones 48-47 Sports Illustrated: Jones 48-47 CBS Sports: Gustafsson 48-47 ESPN: Jones 48-47 Las Vegas Sun: Jones 49-46 Los Angeles Times: Jones 48-47 MMA Fighting: Jones 49-46 Yahoo Sports: Jones 48-47 Bleacher Report: Jones 49-46 Bloody Elbow: Jones 49-46 MMA Weekly: Jones 48-47 MMA Junkie: Jones 49-46
While 11 of those 12 outlets scored the fight for Jones, the general feeling at the Air Canada Centre among the media was that the fight was far closer and more competitive than any final score would indicate.
The fans had a more difficult time picking a winner. At the arena, the fans booed the decision, though they were pro-Gustafsson from the beginning in a movement that picked up steam as it became clear he would mount a legitimate challenge.
MMADecisions.com, which allows fans to score bouts round-by-round, has to date collected 242 scorecards on the fight. Their data shows Jones defeating Gustafsson 48-47 as the top option, earning 36.8% of vote. Right behind at 35.5% is Gustafsson edging Jones 48-47.
When all the options are added up, Jones was selected as the winner on 50% of cards, Gustafsson was picked on 43.4% of cards, and 6.6% of fans believed it was a draw.
In the end though, those are all numbers, and we watch the fights for the moments that blow past expectations. This was the kind of fight that drew you in, took hold and left you with visceral reaction past logical thinking. That’s how sports is supposed to be, moments over numbers and debate. Because if we don’t know for sure who won, if there is any question at all about who the better man is or how scores added up, we can do something about it. Perhaps the right decision here is the one that came up even before the decision was read: rematch. For Jones, for Gustafsson and for the sporting public, there is no better option.