The main event of UFC 75 was a historic unification match between UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and his PRIDE counterpart, Dan Henderson.
But the main topic of conversation coming out of the card in London on Sept. 8, 2007 was one of the most disputed decisions in mixed martial arts history.
Then-unbeaten Michael Bisping was the native hero at the 02 Arena for his match with the United States' Matt Hamill. In the eye of most observers, Bisping was thoroughly outmaneuvered for 15 minutes by Hamill, getting blown out in the first round, losing the third and only coming close in the second.
When the scorecards came down, the verdict was a split decision in favor of Bisping. Cecil Peoples and Jeff Mullen scored the fight 29-28 Bisping, while the lone British judge, Chris Watts, scored it 30-27 Hamill. Y! Sports also scored the fight 30-27 Hamill.
The scoring was viewed as so bad that even the British crowd voiced its disapproval. And it didn't end there. Since the card was aired on basic cable in the U.S. on Spike TV and it drew what is still the largest audience ever to watch an MMA fight on cable, fans flooded blogs and message boards protesting the decision.
Later, UFC president Dana White said that he was taken aback by the vociferousness of the complaints. "We had no idea this was coming," said White. "We left London thinking we had put on a strong show. Then we got home and we were absolutely flooded with email saying the fight was fixed and all that. It took on a life of its own."
As for the main event, "Rampage" solidified his claim to the title with his first successful defense. Henderson hung with Jackson for the first two rounds, but Jackson's defense and cardio took over in the final three rounds as he grinded his way to a unanimous decision. "Rampage" won on scores of 48-47, 49-46 and 49-46.
The Jackson-Henderson match peaked with a viewership of 5.93 million, topping the previous high by the Oct. 2006 Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock fight. While it remains the highest-rated MMA match on cable, it has been eclipsed both of Kimbo Slice's prime-time fights on CBS.
Aided in part by an inadvertent low blow, Cheick Kongo defeated Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic via unanimous decision, getting 29-28 marks across the board. The loss was the second in a row for Filipovic, who mutually with the UFC to part ways after the event.
Fight of the night went to a whirlwind of a match between Marcus Davis and Paul Kelly. Davis was nearly finished early by a big head kick, but referee Yves Levigne let the match continued. Davis recovered and submitted Kelly at the 4:14 mark of the first round. Davis pocketed $80,000 in bonuses for both fight and submission of the night.
Quoteworthy: " "Do you want to go three rounds? … Of course I won the decision. Get the [expletive] out of here. Get that smile off your face." – testy Bisping, when asked by a reporter whether deserved the decision against Hamill.
Jess Liaudin def. Anthony Torres, TKO, 4:10 R1
Dennis Siver def. Naoyuki Kotani, KO, 2:04 R2
Thiago Silva def. Thomasz Drwal, TKO, 4;23 R2
Gleison Tibau def. Terrin Etim, unanimous decision
Houston Alexander def. Alessio Sakara, TKO, 1:01 R1
Marcus Davis def. Paul Taylor, submission (armbar), 4:14 R1
Cheick Kongo def. Mirko Cro Cop, unanimous decision
Michael Bisping def. Matt Jamill, split decision
Light heavyweight title unification match: Quinton Jackson (UFC) def. Dan Henderson (PRIDE), unanimous decision
- Michael Bisping
- Matt Hamill
- Dan Henderson