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Tuesday, 05/21/2013, 11:50 am

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How Can MMA Judging Improve?

MMA judging can be maddening, laughable, and bewildering all at the same time. There is no real method to the madness that is standardized across the board. Do attempted submissions count, or are they the same as missed punches. Is controlling someone’s back without really coming close to finishing them worth more than a well-timed and spectacular reversal or escape. All of it is very subjective and controversial. How does MMA fix this problem as a whole?

Educating the new batch of judges is key. One thing they did in PrideFC so well is take the entire fight in to account. I am not saying do the same should be used in the UFC, but what I am saying is that this should be stressed to the judges on a round by round basis. Watch the round like a movie and judge it based on who did more damage or if it’s too close in that category – by who controlled the round, and directed traffic so to speak. If you have ever watched a fight you probably get a clear sense of who won the round by simply applying these two filters to your viewing.

Adding two more judges might help. A 10 point must system is best used when the fight is not left up to just
three judges. Most of the time it’s a best 2 out of 3 situation, but a 3 out of 5 might be better because there would probably be less chance for split decisions if the read the above paragraph. One of the main reasons that MMA has only three judges is that in MMA’s infancy no one had a clue what they were doing. They needed an odd number so they chose three. It didn’t help that at that time getting people to show up was near impossible, too. When I started announcing events around 2001 the judges were the local “Billy bad-asses” who claimed ridiculous 46-0 underground street fighting records, and still had all of their teeth. Judging has always been ‘entertaining’ to say the least.

The bottom line is that educating new judges matters. Teaching them what is considered significant and what should be taken in to account when scoring a bout is so crucial. Go watch Michael Bisping vs Matt Hammill, Jon Fitch vs. Jeff Joslin, Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra, and Mauricio Rua vs. Lyoto Machida 1. Do you agree with those outcomes?

What do you think would improve judging?

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2 Comments to How Can MMA Judging Improve?

  1. Ya herd says:

    It’s this simple the scoring is more about control.. Make it more about damage for example when a fighter like chael does those soft ground and pound strikes, u all no what I mean, well at the end of the fight he has landed 200 punches 5 of those punches problem done damage ,it’s like who can hit each other the most times, if your not doing damage stand them back up.. Judging leans more to wrestlers fact, witch is garbage thats why pride was more entertaining

  2. 123 says:

    spot on mate

  3. Scottie Miller says:

    Some very valid points made, great article.

    We agree, EDUCATION IS THE KEY.
    Eventually we see an entirely different scoring system in place.
    In the mean time however, Judges well schooled on the finer points of MMA will go a long way to improving the quality and consistency of Judging decisions. Bad decisions not only hurt a fighters record but hurt MMA’s reputation, which as it tries to break into the main stream is a key issue.

    We also believe increasing the number of judges to 5 or even 7, with perhaps the 2 judges whose scores are furthest from the mean/median/average are dropped (as in some Olympic events). This will give far more accurate and consistent scores. This also reduces the risk of corruption. Another lesson MMA must learn from Boxings mistakes. As the UFC ventures into Russia, India and China, all hotbeds for sports betting syndicates it would be naive to think judges won’t be approached with vast sums of cash to score a fight a certain way. Keep in mind, judges get paid approximately $1000 for an evenings work, not a lot compared to the money available to certain criminal betting enterprises.

    If you want to make a difference, be part of the solution, visit our website http://www.millermma.com and have your say!!!
    We WILL fix MMA judging.

    @millermma125

  4. KIDD433 says:

    I agree also

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