The blogosphere, the Internet, the social network… whatever you call it now, exploded following the decision for the Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping middleweight showdown at UFC on Fox 2 on Saturday night.
By most accounts – no matter what side of the fence you fall on – it was a close fight.
Sonnen earned a unanimous nod from the judges, sending him past Go into a summertime rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in Brazil.
Sonnen was able to put Bisping on his back several times throughout the course of the fight. Conversely, the brash Brit put his fist upside Sonnen’s face on several occasions.
“He hit me so hard in the first round I wasn’t positive when we were in the third,” Sonnen commented after the fight, when his faculties had mostly returned.
Not only was Sonnen able to admit that Bisping rocked him, he was willing to admit not only that it was a close fight, but that it could have easily tipped in Bisping’s favor… and he wouldn’t have been running up and down the Magnificent Mile screaming “robbery.”
In fact, as uncharacteristic as it may seem for a fighter to do so, he admitted as much to Bisping in the Octagon after the fight.
“(Bisping) said, ‘I don’t know, I think I might have got the first two.’ I said, ‘yeah, I think you might be right,’” recounted Sonnen at the post-fight press conference, although he was quick to explain himself.
“They were close rounds. Even a 30-27 (score), I would agree that he should have got a round in there somewhere. They could have been razor-thin, but if a judge thinks you win, you can have a 30-27 fight, that’s still a very close 30-27.”
Bisping also felt it was a close fight, but there was no straddling the fence. He clearly fell on the side of “The Count,” no questions asked.
“I think I won rounds one and two. I think in this modern day of social networking and stuff, you just got to look at the Internet, and the general consensus is people think I won the fight,” he declared.
“But biggest cliché in the book, don’t let it go to the judges. I did that and Chael got the decision, congratulations.”
Bisping wasn’t bitter towards his foe though. He had nothing but good things to say about Sonnen. While many people might not take to Sonnen’s fiery demeanor, shooting from the hip – and mouth – Bisping said that the Oregonian had been nothing but a gentleman to him all week long.
But the judge that scored the fight 30-27 in Sonnen’s favor won’t be getting a Christmas card from the recently relocated Brit.
“There is no way on earth that was 30-27. That judge needs to have a serious think about his career options.”
UFC president Dana White says it time and again, most fighters repeat the refrain, and Bisping did on Saturday night.
“Congrats to Chael. He was the better man tonight. Don’t let it go to the judges.”