Sarah Kaufman – Winning My First UFC Fight
I have meant to write a blog for the last little while, but alas a full month has past since I stepped inside the UFC cage for my first time. I knew that fighting Jessica Eye was going to make for a very exciting fight and that she was mentally tough. I knew that I wanted to do what I could to finish the fight and get my first win inside the UFC. I knew how much work I had done in the two camps worth of preparation, and how ready and hungry I was. I did not know that judges could be appointed by a commission and be so uninformed as to the rules of judging a mixed martial arts fight.
Everything fight week was awesome: the UFC staff, the weigh cut, my team’s support, my warmup. Walking out to the cage was amazing – but it always is – and once the fight started, I was ready to punch Jessica right in the Eye (you see what I did there?). Round 1 we both started a bit slow but when I landed there were some good connections. It was a pretty close round and going into Round 2, I wanted to pick it up. In our exchanges, Jessica mostly landed jabs and one landed under my left eye and created a little mouse. It did not bother me at all but I know that I sometimes appear to be damaged even when things barely hit and judges sometimes weigh that into their decisions. I controlled the cage center and landed the better shots, winning Round 2. Again, I knew that it was a closer round than it should ever be…and then Round 3 happened.
Between Round 2 and 3, Jessica looked tired and unsure. I got the better of her Round 2 and I was way fresher than she was. In fact I was too fresh. Round 3 started with me smashing Jessica and ended the same. I threw more and landed more than double the shots. I had her rocked on multiple occasions and when I went to finish her, she managed to glom onto me and try and ride it out. We broke apart and I hit her some more. At the final bell, I was feeling awesome, my corner was ecstatic, and the crowd was electric. It was an amazing moment, ruined when the judges’ decisions was announced: a split decision win for Jessica. Before the announcement, she knew she had lost, I knew I had won, yet I was at the judges’ mercy.
The crowd was none-too-happy and they voiced it by booing…a lot. I went into the back and was doing some interviews when I heard that the reason I lost was 1 judge scored the 3rd round for Jessica. The round where she was nearly KO’d and was hit with over double the shots that she was able to land. The round that she herself admitted in an interview she got her ass kicked in. The round that a class of 4th graders, without any MMA knowledge, would unanimously give to me. That is the round that cost me my earned Win in the UFC.
Now, of course if you finish a fight there is no question you are the winner, but as higher level athletes are matched together, finishes are not always possible. I know finishing Jessica Eye is there for my taking. I had her rocked a few times in Round 3 and know that if I had started the way I finished she would have been out for the count. That’s my fault. I won’t make that mistake in our next meeting.
Any honourable fighter would admit they didn’t deserve that decision and would insist on an immediate rematch. The question is: is Jessica Eye that honourable?
*** Reprinted with permission from http://www.sarahkaufman.ca/