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5 Easy Ways to Fix MMA Judging

The outrage over the scoring in Saturday night’s showdown between UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and top contender Johny Hendricks was widespread with everyone from fans to former fighters to UFC President Dana White labeling it as an embarrassing example of officiating. Of course, strange scorecards are nothing new, and fighters have been told to avoid going the distance for years based on the risk involved by leaving the result in judges’ hands. Hopefully, the blunder occurring on a stage as large as UFC 167 will create the motivation necessary to finally address the problem in 2014. While human error will always factor into fights on some level, judging can be dramatically improved by implementing a few simple fixes. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)

10 COMMENTS
  • SBERG says:

    What about just having people with the ability to watch a fight and have a proper understanding of the fight they’re watching….I mean any way you do it it comes down to a persons opinion of who he thought won or lost….
    If proper care is taken by the commision to put people with real mma understanding in place alot of this get fixed but when you continually put inexperienced people in there you get what were having now…..
    It’s really not a hard fix but more the powers that be just getting off their asses and doing it….

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • darth_irritable says:

    The 10 point must is part of the problem. 10-8 rounds should be more common, with clearer guidelines. That would have solved this. Even if you gave GSP R1 (which I can see an argument for, I thought it was a tossup), Hendricks would have had at least one 10-8 round – maybe two, and taken the fight.

    10-7 is the new 10-8.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • SBERG says:

    There were no 10-8 rounds in that fight…yes johny won round 2 pretty handily but by noeans was it a 10-8 round.,.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • hindsightufuk says:

    judges who understand the sport would be a start.

    i agree more 10-10 and 10-8 rounds should be given, but i also agree with Sberg, no 10-8’s in the title fight, not even close.

    this sport is still young, compare it to football, cricket, baseball, boxing, basketball, any sport with a storied history. Those sports now are almost unrecognizable to when they were 20 years old.

    things will evolve in MMA, it just takes time

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • darth_irritable says:

    From the unified rules:
    “3. A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant wins by a large margin, by effective striking and or effective grappling that have great impact on the opponent.”

    I’d say there was at least one 10-8 round if you read the words. The issue is in how it is applied, and the reluctance to use this. By contrast, I don’t think there were any 10-7 rounds
    “4. A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant totally dominates by effective striking and or effective grappling, which put the opponent in great danger throughout the round. In a 10-7 round referee stoppage may be eminent. This score should rarely be used.”

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • SBERG says:

    @ darth….
    I’m not saying your wrong in what your saying but what your saying goes back to what I said initially : It comes down to a persons opinion of who he or she thought won or lost the fight or in this case a particular round. I mean if I’m scoring the fight and I feel the round was favored to Johny and score it a 10-9 round, that’a my opinion of what I saw.
    Yes the wording in the rules say things should be this and that but those are still guidelines of what to look for. It’s not just black and white like that, there is a gray area. In this case the grey area being human perception. GSP was rocked and hurt but only temporarily, he more than held on and still pressed the action afterward. He was not completely dominated in the round. In my opinion he lost the round but I wouldn’t have scored it 10-8.
    The real problem as we all can agree on is the lack of real MMA people judging the fights or for that matter having a real MMA commission guy to watch things over. I say hire John McCarthy as a Judging commissioner…..Who else has seen more action and have the in ring understanding of who won and lost…..His knowledge is undeniable. But he’s just one guy I’m sure there’s others people could think of but in my opinion that’s what’s needed to really clean things up….

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  • Screenplaya says:

    I would like to see a complete re-write of the scoring rules.

    I think going to a 4-point scoring system would be sensible. Thus scores would be as follows: 4-3 for close/most rounds, 4-2 for dominant rounds, 4-1 for near-deaths.

    And maybe judges should be taught to partially use math to score fights. Score each punch from 1-5 (knockdown=5), each takedown from 1-10 (slam=10), and maybe add a couple of points for each improvement in position or ring control. This is over-simplified, but it would lead to more predictable scoring.

    And while we are at it, I would like to make sure refs never step in too soon. These are fighters and they want to fight. Never let it be said that a ref stepped in too soon. If the ref thinks the fighter is too hurt, MAKE SURE and then stop the fight.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • SBERG says:

    I think they should just scrap the point system altogether and just have a round by round system. Give the judges cards for each round. On each card is 3 boxes. One box for fighter A, One box for fighter B and one box for a draw.
    This way the all the judges have to do is watch the fight uninterupted and simply check a box when the round is over. Again this isn’t rocket science, it’s just basic human understanding of who won the round based on the perception of the person watching it.
    I mean yea you can have all the different point systems you want but now the judges are sitting and counting takedowns and punches and writing all this down while still trying to watch the fight. To me that seems kinda diffucult.
    I can’t ever remember ever watching a fight and writing all that stuff down. Me , like alot of you out there wait till the round is over and see the compubox stats or whatever they call it. Ya think Rogan counts all that stuff? No…He waits for the same stuff we do to continue his commentary. But yet we want judges to be able to do this during the fight and give a right decision? Sorry..can’t buy that.
    Simplify the system and get quality people to do the job and things will work out for the better. Or don’t and let’s keep having what we keep getting time and time again.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • Screenplaya says:

    SBERG – your scoring system is too simple, and is more likely to result in bad results than the system we have today. With no way of ever awarding a fighter for a dominant performance in a round, you make bad outcomes more likely. For example, Jon Fitch would have lost 2 rounds to 1 to BJ Penn, instead of earning the (completely accurate) draw with a 10-8 3rd round.

    And, it would be the simplest of tasks to track the scoring I suggested. An obvious way would be through a touchscreen application. Arguments against a mathematical approach are plentiful, but in today’s world, tracking the data is not one of them.

    If the solution is that we use better judges, then we need to find ways of ensuring judges are better. I know Big John McCarthy runs seminars on the subject. Maybe an institutionalized version of that is the answer, or part of the answer.

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  • SBERG says:

    It still comes down to having competent people in place to do the job. Doesn’t matter what scoring system is in place. If you sit 20 people down and have them watch the penn- fitch fight thy’re all gonna see the round as 10-8? I’m not so sure. I mean we already had someone here say the second round the the GSP fight should have been 10-8 where 2 of us said no so the system is a small part of the problem. It will always be the human element cause we have unqualified people judging the contests….I like that we both agree on the John McCarthy aspect, I believe that would be a huge improvement but reality is that wont happen, it makes too much sense and as we know no one likes common sense….Go read the other thread I’m in and see what I mean…that poor dude is going loopy right now…lol

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