The UFC Doctor Gave Fans a Decision That was Already Inevitable
It had the potential to be one of the greatest fights of the year. Jorge Masvidal, the man with the quickest knockout in UFC history, and Nate Diaz, the league's notorious badass, fighting for the BMF title. It was one I had marked on my calendar for a while, and one that I stayed up for despite having work early in the morning the next day. It was a fight that should've been remembered as an absolute brawl... and a doctor stole that away.
It was an extremely controversial decision that will always be looked at as a bit of a stain on an otherwise great night of fights. You saw Kevin lee with a crazy head kick to put Gregor Gillespie to sleep. Derrick Lewis with a big decision victory in his return fight. An absolute battle of a fight between Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson and the man with the concrete chin Vicente Luque. And finally, you saw Kelvin Gastelum get humbled in a fight with Darren Till in which he came in as a huge favourite. But the biggest story is that of a decision that made sense from a certified doctor.
I get the frustration. It had been a really entertaining fight through three rounds. I was blown away that Nate got squared up so many times and still managed to save himself from a KO defeat. I wanted to see how much more of a beating he could take; to see whether or not he'd survive his way through five rounds once again.
Unfortunately the doctors aren't trained to give a damn about what the UFC fans think. Their one and only job is to make sure that the fighters don't compromise their health and safety by continuing in any given fight. Did Nate Diaz feel like he could continue to fight? I'm absolutely certain he did. On the other hand, can you take a look at the picture of the cut above his eye pouring blood and say he was good to go? I'm no doctor myself, but it didn't look great.
Realistically the doctor did Nate a bit of a favour with the decision. It was clear from the beginning that this was Jorge Masvidal's cage and Nate Diaz was just playing in it. He dominated from the get go, with 112 of his 114 strikes being of the significant variety, while Nate managed to land only 43. He also mixed in a ruthless takedown, and knocked Diaz down twice over the course of three rounds (once within the first two minutes of the fight, leading to the cut that ended it all).
I love watching Nate fight as much as the next guy, and I went to sleep that night thinking Nate was robbed of a chance to get the finish on Masvidal and walk away with the title. It's something we're used to seeing him do (17 finishes through 20 wins in his professional career), but was also something nearly impossible against a guy like Masvidal.
In his 13 career professional losses "Gamebred" has only been finished twice, one via the knockout, the other via submission. Both of these finishes however, came more than 10 years ago, long before his time in the UFC. While Nate is a great finisher, it was clear that Masvidal had plenty left in the tank, and is not an easy man to finish off at the best of times.
So yes, the ending sucked, and you're allowed to feel ripped off if you spent your hard earned money to watch that fight. Don't however, let yourself think that the doctor that made that decision is the only reason Masvidal won this fight. He proved through three rounds, that he is indeed a BMF.