MMA judges are refining their skills with the help of referee Big John McCarthy, as they rejudge the controversial UFC 247 Jones vs Reyes fight.
Judges competency is a common cause of contention in the evergrowing sport. MMA professionals such as Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz have slammed judges for inaccurate point-scoring. During UFC 247 in February 2020, Rogan accused one of the judges of not watching, and blasted their scorecards for the closely contested Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes bout. Jones claimed the decision victory, but UFC president Dana White revealed that he scored the UFC 247 main event in favor of Reyes.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, judges are making good use of their time to improve their craft. According to an ESPN report, the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) judges are taking digital training. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has set up the lessons for at least twice a week.
Top referee Big John McCarthy teaches the “students” by video call whilst CSAC analyst Patrisha Blackstock plays a round of a recent or historic fight. McCarthy then leads the discussion, and explains what should be the correct score. The first session took place on March 23 and featured 18 judges and regulators from all over the US.
The highly controversial ruling of UFC 247 came up during a training video call. Judges were asked if Reyes should have won by unanimous decision and the response was a unanimous “yes”. The original judges for the bout (Joe Soliz, Chris Lee, Marcos Rosales) were not on the call so they could not justify their decision. However, the Texas Combative Sports program assistant manager for the event, Jim Erickson was on call. During the discussion, the judges perceived that Reyes was the more effective striker, and should have won. McCarthy concluded their response and said, “He won the first three rounds.”
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