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Random Ranting: How to fix the judging and rule making process in MMA

I don’t think the result of the Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson fight is cause to condemn the current judging system that currently exists in mixed martial arts. Not everyone is going to see the fight the same way. As I said before, I can live with the decision that was rendered and don’t have a problem with people who believe Griffin won the fight.

I scored the fight on my own, as it happened. After a round took place, I jotted a score down. I added it up and Jackson came out the winner. My wife sat right next to me and watched the fight on the same television. She thought Griffin won the fight and expressed mild surprise when I told her I thought Jackson should be declared the winner. To each their own.

But there have been times this year where I have had major issues with how some fights have been scored. And I do believe that overall there are some major flaws with judging and some things that need to happen in order to fix them:

1) Keep the 10-point must system. People say it stinks, and I’m not suggesting the 10-point must system is perfect, but I think it’s the best way to score a fight. People that bash it rarely come up with a better system. The two alternative scoring systems I’ve heard recommended are a true points system or scoring as one round, such as the way they did it in PRIDE.

Well, you’ll never be able to use a true points system because MMA is a mixture of multiple martial arts cultures. If you award more points for an uppercut than a attempted gogoplata, then you’re going to have the jiu-jitsu community claiming that MMA is biased towards the boxing community. And is a true points system even feasible? Fights move really fast sometimes. What if a judge doesn’t have time to write everything down? What if while he’s jotting points down for a takedown he misses a triangle attempt from the bottom? And if we used a true points system where every aspect of a fight was assigned a numerical value, we’d have basketball scores for MMA fights.

And if you like how PRIDE scored fights as a whole and not broken down by rounds but also don’t believe the right judges are in place, then your belief system here is flawed. By fragmenting the scoring of a fight, you force judges to pay closer attention and take more into account. If you score a fight as one big round, an incompetent judge may ignore 13 minutes of a fight and render a decision based on the final two.

So keep the 10-point must, but come out with a more defined criteria about how fights should be scored and be sure to expound on the priority level of each criterion. Is cage control more important than “effective striking”? And just what is effective striking anyway?

Also, commissions need to stop adding their own unwritten rules. That’s a reference to several industry insiders telling me that certain commissions discourage their judges behind the scenes from scoring a fight a draw. I’ve been told that by multiple people and it angers me to no end. If a fight is a tie, it’s a tie, no matter how much the fans hate it.

If ties are such an evil, then for major fights they should have a fourth judge whose scoring will be introduced if a fight is a draw on the scorecards of the three judges of record.

2) If a fight is being televised, make it mandatory for the promotion on record to provide television monitors for the judges. It really wasn’t a factor Saturday night, but in some cases, a judge is unable to really see a fight if it goes to the ground with the backs of the fighters facing him. In some instances, I have seen some judges revert to looking to a big screen, just as many fans do when a fight goes to the ground. Why make them strain their necks or run the risk of them watching the telecast of the fight from an awkward angle? Put a TV screen in front of them. And not those old school box monitors they use for the UFC telecasts, get them some nice HD monitors to look at.

3) Create an independent oversight committee to review and analyze the performance of the judges. As of now, the same people in charge of overseeing the judges are the same people that appointed them. In a lot of cases, you have to have an existing relationship of some kind with a commissioner in order to be appointed as a judge. Because a judge is a very political process. It’s even more political once one becomes a judge.

A commissioner may not want to remove a judge from the rotation because he or she might be a friend who goes way back, or, the commission member might be making himself look bad by removing an official that he was responsible for appointing. A GM only fires a manager in baseball when he believes the performance of the manager could ultimately cost him his job as well. A commissioner isn’t on the hot seat like that.

By having an independent board evaluate the performance of every judge following a major event, you take it out of a commissioner’s hands.

4) Consider Dana White’s idea to expand the number of rounds in fights – If a standard high-level pro MMA bout was five rounds and title fights were seven rounds, you’d see fewer fight outcomes winding up at the discretion of judges. By extending rounds you would place a heavy emphasis on stamina (almost too much), but the role of the judge and the subjective nature of scoring of fight would greatly decrease. I would have love to have seen a sixth and possibly a seventh round this past Saturday. I’d like to see some experimentation with seven round title fights.
5) Create a separate application process to be a judge for MMA. Unless I am wrong, I believe that if you’re a boxing judge, you can be assigned to judge MMA if a commissioner thinks you’re qualified. Just because one is a boxing judge doesn’t mean one can’t understand the multi-layered nuances of MMA. However, just because one is a boxing judge, it doesn’t mean one is qualified to judge other combat sports.

Just because I have a license to drive a car, it doesn’t mean I should be granted a license to drive a tractor trailer. If I want to drive a truck, I have to go through a new battery of training and an entirely different testing procedure. I feel the same should apply to MMA, if it already isn’t the case. Some might say that boxing judges already have to go through a separate application process to judge MMA, but I’m not talking about a situation where someone fills out a piece of paper and it gets rubber stamped by the person that hired them to do boxing. If a thorough testing and evaluating system isn’t in place for MMA, it’s time to implement one. A few classes and some seminars aren’t enough training.

I know a lot of commission members read this site and if I am off base here about the requirements to judge MMA, let me know and I will get the whole story out there.

On another note, I just wanted to say I agree with New Jersey Athletic Control Board counsel Nick Lembo’s recommendation that the ABC change its name. The fact that a group is making alterations to the unified rules of MMA when MMA is excluded from their name speaks volumes. I think that’s the root of a lot of problems for MMA, in that it’s mashed in with boxing and treated like a step child. MMA needs things that it can call its own, such as its own commissions and its own judges. Most states don’t allow referees to work both boxing and MMA, yet there’s no problem allowing judges to work both.

I realize the money isn’t there in the budgets for a lot of states, but the sport of MMA really needs its own commissions instead of relying on the old boxing guard to decide what’s best for it. I find that in some, not all, just some, that there is an extreme bias against MMA within some commissions. MMA is a big enough sport that it deserves it’s own MMA commissioner in every commission state. And if money is the issue, then separate the boxing and MMA revenue streams. In most states, there are a lot more MMA shows going on than boxing shows. MMA is the bread winner and in most cases is paying for itself and could support the infrastructure that is needed. The problem is, the income MMA generates is applied to the other sports that the state regulates. No more free rides. Boxing should have to pay for itself and shouldn’t be allowed to ride on MMA’s coattails with MMA still being treated like the second class citizen.

The executive director within each athletic commission should appoint an MMA czar that reports directly to them. But have the MMA czar be someone with a tried and true MMA background and allow them to make the majority of the rulings pertaining to MMA. If you have true MMA commissioners then you can have the Association of Mixed Martial Arts Commissioners meet once a year and just discuss rule changes for the sport of MMA.

A lot of pure boxing people see MMA as nothing more than a burden. Nick Lembo wasn’t happy with the process employed to make major changes to the sport of MMA and chances are it was because you had a bunch of boxing people that had no passion for MMA that wanted to power through everything so they could get to the airport and try to schedule an earlier flight home. Lembo is very passionate about MMA, as our other major commission members in other states. But in a lot of cases, that’s not the case.

  • Matt says:

    I’ll agree with Number 4 “Consider Dana White’s idea to expand the number of rounds in fights”, but only if the UFC sets up some sort of Friday Night Fights event. That way, instead of having longer events, we can have a higher frequency of shorter events.

  • Zach says:

    These are some great ideas, especially that boxing jusges may not have the MMA knowledge neccessary to judge a MMA bout. I Also gave the fight to Rampage, and my friends thought i was off base, but I think rampage won the 1st, 3rd and 4th round, and i was on the fence about the 5th. As for the 2nd round it may have been worthy of being 10-8, but i have issue with that as it seems there is no clear criteria of what constitutes a 10-8 round. I read that Rampages trainer Juanito Iberra is asking for a review/appeal of the score cards, hopefully that helps shed some more light on the problem in judging as a whole.

  • SmartAss says:

    Some good point, but allowing more rounds makes no sense. If there were 7 rounds, fighters wouldnt be so aggressive to save the energy 4 later. There would be as many decisions as now if not more. Also imagine fights like Sylvia vs Arlovski going 7 rounds… The good system imo is 10 min first round and 2 rounds 5 min, like in Pride.

    My idea: hire JAPANESE JUDGES. I believe judges in japan are best. In the whole history of Pride there were only a few controversial decisions, and if they fight was really close they were giving split decisions. The only controversies I remember were Mezger-Saku and Nog-Rodriguez. Judges in US are sometimes completely uneducated, just like Big John said.

  • MJB says:

    While I like the idea of more rounds, I think maybe five minutes per is too long. I’d say take a page out of the IFL playbook and go with four minute rounds. That way, a regular bout is 20 minutes (4 min X 5 rounds) and a title fight is 28 minutes (4 min X 7 rounds).

  • HexRei says:

    I agree about the round extension and all the good reasons for it, although I wonder about the attention span of viewers, and the impact it might have on the number of fights we’d see in a given broadcast.

  • HexRei says:

    @#3 Page vs Ninja

  • Grape Knee High says:

    I don’t think the 10 point must system as a whole is flawed. Yes, fighters can “fight to the score”, but there is a certain amount of transparency that was not present in more obscured systems like the one in PRIDE where the entire fight was judged in its entirety.

    The only real issues are:

    1) The judges. They are mostly idiots.
    2) There should be more use of 10-10 rounds. (Yes, the rules allow them.)
    3) There should be more consistent use of 10-8 rounds. (However, I don’t think Round 2 in Griffin/Rampage was one of them. Round 1 of Griffin/Ortiz is a better example of a 10-8 round in my mind.)

    Personally, I think the best system would be a combination of the PRIDE rules blended with the 10-point must system. In other words, scrap the “effective striking, grappling and Octagon control” business and get “effort to finish the fight by KO or submission” in there as the primary determinants for who wins the round.

  • Matt says:

    “That way, a regular bout is 20 minutes (4 min X 5 rounds) and a title fight is 28 minutes (4 min X 7 rounds).”

    4 minute rounds aren’t long enough. Could judging influence not also be weakened if there were 2 x 10 minute rounds for non-title, and 3 x 10 minute rounds for title? The odds of a fight being finished are greater when a fighter is tired at the end of an exhausting 10 minute round, whereas more rounds would require less conditioning from the fighters, decrease the probability of a fight being finished, and unnecessarily increase the length of an event.

  • Ronin says:

    How about a half point system like what K-1 uses.

  • josiah dirte says:

    Usually I disagree with your commentary (but i obviously still read). But you nailed it. Points #2 & #5 would fix MMA judging on their own.

    I didn’t realize the judges didn’t have access to monitors. So they’re literally not watching the same fight we are!

    As for the process of becoming an MMA judge…you’re right on the money again. I personally think they should have to work their way up, like a fighter. Work smokers, sanctioned muay thai fights, BJJ tournaments, then smaller MMA promotions & finally the big show.

    p.s. Forrest beat Rampage cleanly. Chopped his leg, escaped the slam & outworked him on the feet & the mat.

  • fightfan says:

    I agree the point system is good, but they need to start scoring other than 10-9(95% of all rounds). It might as well be called a ONE POINT MUST SYSTEM, because it is rare, unless an absolute beatdown for 5 straight minutes to you hear of 10-8 rounds…and 10-7 I dont eve thnk I ever heard of one.

    I even think .5 should be used. The Hammil/Bispign fightfor example. Round 1 was scored 10-9 Hammil…..Hammil beat the living piss out of bispign. He had Bispign running from him the entire round. It was a very dominating round win for Hammil. But he gets a 10-9. And the next 2 round was fairly even with a couple takedowns and couple strieks from each….BUT NOTHING like the damage Hammil inflicted on Mike in the first….But those rounds are scored the SAME 10-9, but in favor of Bisping

    That is totaly ludicrous!!! Hammil’s first round domination was 4 times better than the next 2 near even rounds. 10-9 in the first and 10-9 in teh second…..THERE IS NO COMPARISON from what Hammil did to Bisping in the first did to how Bisping won the second???? I still think it was the UFC PAID employees that scored the fight, but oh well, it is over. they were scoring in favor of their boss’s marketing darling Bisping.

    Anyway hammil should of won round 1 10-8 or 10-8.5…..while the next 2, even if you give them to Bisping, which I DO NOT THINK HE won….Those 2 rounds should be 10-9.5 rounds because there was NO DAMAGE AND SO CLOSE

  • mo says:

    thanks for the article Sam, it is good to generate more discussions about the scoring in MMA. It just seems that the system in place now needs to be adjusted because of all the discontent, especially over the last year, year and a half (Bisping-Hamill seemed to get more people discussing scoring). a couple of quick thoughts:

    – i am not sure about your first sentence. i wouldn’t say i condemn the current scoring system, but i don’t think it is too much to ask that a system is in place where the scoring is relatively consistent acorss judges. i know this time it was for 3 of the 5 rounds, but a scoing system should be in place where any appointed judge can view a fight and have, for the most part, the same score card as any other judge. Of course there will be some variance to do reasons you list above about viewing, etc. but it should be a little more reliable.
    and i like a lot of your thoughts above, but I am not sure about more rounds, because of what is said above about taking some excitement away and also if this past Saturday’s card was all 5 rounds for the rest of the card it would have dragged on way too long. Think of Starnes-Nate Quarry going 5 rounds, ugh. anyway, it seems the system is very political, and thus we won’t have any answer to the problem for a very long time. Hearingthe differences across states is discouraging, and i am sure only the top of the barrell.

  • mike wolfe says:

    More rounds–5/7–is a good idea. Now that fighters are more sophisticated in their conditioning, a five round fight is as daunting. Also, it might keep fighters a little more honest about their true fighting weights. If gigantic lightweights and welterweights have to cut a bunch of weight and also fight five full rounds, it might prevent “bracket creep.” After all, if you’re a true middleweight, that’s where you should fight, or at least try to comepte there.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Should have said “isn’t as daunting.”

  • jj says:

    I disagree with the 10 point must system.

    If 90% of the damage of the fight occurs in round 3 by fighter A, but for some reason the fight goes to decision, then fighter B who did little damage in round 1 and 2 can win a fight, when everyone knows the other fighter was closer to having the ref stop the fight. If the only reason for keeping this is to force incompetant judges to pay more attention, then we should be addressing the bigger issue: GET RID OF INCOMPETENT JUDGES. And to Smart-Ass: Japanese judges often show bias towards japanese fighters.

    I think something that everyone has realized since all the recent controversy from July is that Referee’s need to see video replays of certain things before they can make a foul call. Cases in point: JZ vs. Aoki I and Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites.

    More rounds are unnecessary. How many special rules bouts did Royce Gracie enjoy while at Pride, and how many of those fights actually had the outcome affected by the extra time. It almost always ended up in a stalemate. The 10 minute first round was nice in pride, many submissions would often come at the 6 minute mark, a finish that would likely not take place in a 5 minute round system. More rounds is just more time for wrestlers to lie on top of people and stagnate the fight hoping to get a 10-9 round by not allowing the other guy to do anything but sit on the bottom. However if we had LESS time in a fight people would scramble more to finish the fight. Now I’m not saying that’s what should be done…
    Another thing that could work would be rather than adding more mandatory rounds, an optional round could be added as a tie breaker like they did in K-1 Heros.

    Takedowns should count against you if you don’t use it to score some submission attempts or ground and pound.

    Yellow cards. Now I think the way Pride ran the yellow card system was a little unfair, but I think it’s pretty reasonable to say the system was effective. Why not try a modified version of that system?
    Let it work with a lower percentage of the fighters purse to be fair, say 5%. Now if you’re stagnating the fight or refusing to engage you’re given a yellow card. Now you can up work hard to score enough points to win the 5% back, or what if your opponent steps it up, he should be able to take that 5% away and add it to his purse.

  • neijia says:

    #7 – great idea 10 pt must with its faults (since there isn’t a better idea) but forget the stupid Octagon control rule. wtf is that about anywa? We can see there is an incentive for point fighting. As much as I like Machida, that isn’t the style I want to see as a spectator. Best effort to finish by KO or submission is much better. Still totally subjective of course, but encourages a more exciting fight. Better for the fans, better for fighters to know who actually won, better for judges not getting criticized, better for business for the fight organization.

  • neijia says:

    #14 – great idea about shorter round to encourage urgency, not resting on top (so boring). so how about:

    – 8 min first round
    – 4 min subsequent
    – throw out octagon control
    – keep 10 pt must
    – keep subjective assessment for best effort for KO or sub.

  • cyph says:

    Judges in the US are incompetent. Judges in Japan are bought. I’d rather take the incompetent judges.

  • Are you having a laugh?. says:

    Like I said before three buttons, have a vote on what scores how much , trial it and there you have it.

    “an incompetent judge may ignore 13 minutes of a fight and render a decision based on the final two.”

    Saying that judges may not pay attention is a problem in a 10 point must system too,as is the problem for the importance or value of a specific part of fighting (uppercut or armbar attempt scores highest?) besides with a button system judges who do not cut it will be found out and desposed of quicky. If each aspect of MMA has an awared score at least the judges are on the same page. They will always have a different opinion of a good clean shot or sub attempt was but that is why there is 3 judges, to average out opinion.
    Look at it this way, say a fighter goes in there in the first rd , gets his ass handed to him, its a 10-8 for sure he just survived in fact he was getting choked at the time the bell rang but for the next 4 rds he runs away jabs a couple of times gets a takedown and just holds hugs and gives a couple of elbows, he wins the fight even though is the inferior fighter, he did little if any damage, never tryed to finish it and was really avoiding the fight. The 10 point must system often has no relevance to who really won the fight it shows that time after time and fighters will abuse this and any rules they can to win, it’s just human nature.
    So in conclusion I think elbows to a downed opp should be banned (make the fighters have to posture up to do damage, this means more sub attempts and more reversals) and the rds should be shorter and more of them (more resets/restarts to try to counter hold em down tactics) and fighters should be encouraged to FIGHT not avoid the fight and run out the clock just cause they won rds 1 and 2.

  • ultmma says:

    Great post Sam,

    Now for my long post

    #1 Can MMA get a uniform criteria for scoring a fight? It seems like every judge in every state looks at a fight and scores it using his own system.

    The 10 point system does need to be kept around with a list of qualifications for a 10-10 round, 10-9 round, and a 10-8 round

    #2 few extra cords and plug seems simple for big shows like UFC, Elite, and Affilcition

    3# in the NFL and MLB the refs and umps with the highest scores over the course of the regular season are awarded the biggest games i.e the super bowl and the World series.

    In MMA judges should have a accuracy score assigned to them after they reach a minimum of fights judged. The best judges are awarded with title fights in bigger venues. Again it goes back to MMA needing a independent oversight committee

    #4 Sam, Sam. These athletes would be dead by the 6th and 7th rounds. Too mny chances for injures and long term ill body effects. Boxing went down to 12 round s for a reason.
    Hey if you want to make rounds 4 minutes each then a 7 round title fight would 28 minutes, now that doesn’t sound as bad as 35 minutes of fighting

    #5 Again it goes back to MMA needing a independent oversight committee . i’d put it all caps but i wont be rude. MMA is the little brother that has outgorwn boxing and it needed to be treated with its own respect

    we don’t need the association of boxing commission making rules for MMA. doesn’t boxing have enough of their own problems to worry about

    *steps off soap box*

  • Nate says:

    I liked all the thoughts, especially “# 7 Grape Knee High”

    Thanks for opening the dialog and getting all these great suggestions. After reading all the comments, I feel like I could come up with a final solution right now.

    I do miss the Pride yellow card, it always pushed the matches.
    I also think training is key. In the past 2 years there has been a dramatic improvement, but more is obviously needed.

  • Echolocating says:

    Good call, Ronin (#9). I watched a little interview with some judge and John McCarthy a while ago and the half-point system was brought up. At the end of the discussion, everyone was pretty much in complete agreement with the half-point system. Really close rounds can be scored 10 – 9.5 and dominant round can have greater diversity. Which really allows a completely dominant round to carry weight to the final decision, instead of two mediocre rounds outweighing an arguably lop-sided single round.

    My other beef with the current judging is how they feel that one fighter must have won the round. I don’t recall many rounds being split on judges scorecards. Why are judges seemingly afraid to call a round a draw?

    Anyway, the half-point system is the way to go, I feel.

  • Cathedron says:

    Good article. I’ve always said that the 10 point must system isn’t the big problem, it’s the judges who clearly don’t understand MMA. That will change over time, but things are pretty bad right now. Too many fights go to the judges and the judges are often pretty stupid.

    I think adding extra rounds would be OK, but they might need to shorten the actual round length to 4 mins. I’m not sure how that would change things. I do know that 3 min rounds would just fuck up MMA to the point that it would be a completely different sport. It’s one of the things I can’t stand about amature and women’s pro MMA. What about extending the lengths of the individual rounds? Six min rounds might do it. Let the fighters get a little more worn out with each round and we might see some finishes by the third round.

  • king mah mah says:

    My gripe with ten point system is that it doesn’t utilize ten points. How come there is never a 7-4 round or a 4-2 round? Also if the rounds are always limited to either 10,9, or 8 than why isn’t it a three point must system?

    I am also confused about the people saying round 2 wasn’t a 10-8 for griffin. If that round wasn’t a 10-8 then what the hell is? Obviously they want a knockout before they ever score a 10-8. In my opinion you could score it a 10-7 seeing as how rampage didn’t fight that round at all. But that’s my point, they don’t utilize 10 points. Why?

    Also how does the round immediately become one fighters if they knock the other guy down? If they are losing the round for 4mins and then knock the other guy down but don’t finish him, how did they win the round when they were dominated for 80% of that round?

    It’s all confusing to me, the point system worked in boxing but I think there are just too many variables in mma.

  • Jeremy says:

    My own personal thoughts on how to score using the ten point system are as follows:
    10-9: a relatively close round with one doing more.
    10-8: A round in which one fighter was clearly dominant.
    10-7: One fighter dominates and injures his opponent and/or is very close to ending the fight.
    Perhaps a 10-6 being is a fighter is literally saved by the bell.

    There is no way a close round should be scored the same as a dominant one, yet many seem to feel that a 10-8 is only when a fighter does large amounts of damage.

    I think the 2nd round of Jackson/Griffin was an excellent example of what a 10-8 round should be. Should that have been given the same score as the fifth round?

  • Echolocating says:

    Jeremy (#25), what you’ve described is the half-point system, but with whole numbers. 10 – 9.5, 9, 8.5, 8… the thing is that the judges come from boxing backgrounds and calling 10 – 7 rounds might scramble their little brains, but for some reason 10 – 8.5 isn’t as confusing to them.

    Hey, Sam, (if you’ve got the time) humor us and watch the fight again and score it with the half-point system. I wonder what your final score would be then. Might be an interesting exercise… or it might be a waste of 25 minutes. 😉

  • Matteo says:

    Good Article.

    I think the 10 point must system has done just as well as any other scoring system. It seems right now a lot of the MMA judges seem to be defunct boxing judges..
    There should be a test where a potential judge is shown different fights and score the fights and then justify their reasonings.

    The 2nd Rounds of the Jackson/Griffin fight and the Lytle/Koscheck are perfect comparisons to argue a 10-8. I felt as if Griffin desreved a 10-8 round for completely nullifying anything Jackson had to offer but in return he also did little damage.. But in comparison to the Koscheck/Lytle 2nd Round, which was also a 10-8 round, Koscheck really teed off on Lytle cutting him badly and almost causing a stoppage. SO what is a 10-8 round?

    I scored the Rampage/Forrest fight a draw as Rampage took 3/5 Rounds and Forrest won 2/5 Rounds with a 10-8 round resulting in a 48/48 Draw.

  • THORAZINE says:

    On “FIGHT METRICS” they have the JACKSON VS FORREST fight scored at
    47-47, Forrest definitely had more punches and kicks but Jackson had more power punches and accuracy. I now can see how many believe Forrest outright won.

  • Kuch says:

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix this. Changing the number of rounds, having oversight committees, reviewing decisions, using monitors; it’s all nice but it won’t fix anything.

    The folks judging these fights are people, just like everyone posting on this site. There isn’t a metric for how many points a jab is considered versus a right cross or knock down, and honestly, I don’t think there should be. The process in place right now might now be perfect, but it’s the best there is.

    Besides, all fighters know that if they want to make sure they win the fight they have to take the judges out of the equation and finish their opponent.

  • Suqleg says:

    I like the article man good stuff and eventualy needed. I also think upping the total Judge count to 5 would help. better chance of them getting it right maybe even finding a way to eliminate 2 cards like they do for some olympic sports…

  • Are you having a laugh?. says:

    Thats a good point King mah about not utilizing all 10 points, you’re right at the moment its just 3 points in MMA…weird?. It must be the points deduction or knock down thing, I think in boxing (and perhaps now in MMA) a knock down or standing 8 count is a point so if a fighter gets knocked down 3 times and obviously loses the rd 10 -8 it would be 10-5, so in your scenario;
    “If they are losing the round for 4mins and then knock the other guy down but don’t finish him, how did they win the round when they were dominated for 80% of that round?”
    it should be a drawn 9-9 rd with the knock down.
    And yeah that was definatly a 10-8 for Forrest and I think he took 5 but the other 3 rds (in my opinion) were up for debate.

  • Phil says:

    2 things.

    I like adding more rounds to fights. I don’t think fights will become more boring with people trying to pace themselves to last 7 or 5 rounds. I think fighters will have more incentive to try and finish fights early because they’re going to be exhausted at the end of the matches.

    One thing on scoring, I think all point deductions should be subject to replay review. It doesn’t have to delay the fight or anything, just that when the ref stops the fights and announces a point deduction. Someone from the commission (not one of the judges) should start watching replays and determine if the foul actually occured. At the end of the round, they should announce to the fighters/judges/spectators whether the point deduction should happen. I know it doesn’t really mesh with this post, but if they’re going to change the scoring system, might as well fix everything.

  • MarkEMark says:

    I think they should make the judges talk to the media about why/how they scored the fight. This would allow the public to understand why they scored rounds a certain way and would prevent them for blatantly scoring rounds blindly.

  • Erik says:

    I think everyone everywhere seems a little too stuck inside the box when it comes to how to come up with new scoring procedures. Adapting the 10 point system, pushing buttons etc…

    Basically the way I see it, it’s not really that fair to divide up winning a round in just 2 ways. 10-9 and 10-8. Having a bit more scale would be better as a fighter can really dominate or it can be really close, but due to the mental hurdle of the 10 point system I think you gotta go with something different.

    Here’s just a suggestion to get people thinking:

    Alternative Scoring procedure:

    Each round is worth 5 points, to be divided among the fighters. This means you can totally dominate and win 5-0 (what would today be a clear cut 10-8), doing lots of damage. A clear domination, but with the opponent still doing some decent defense/damage avoidance could be 4-1 (I.e clear knockdowns, complete outwrestling etc), while a bit more give and take (both figheters slug it out, one winning 55-75% of the exchanges or so, but still round winner would get 3-2.
    In extreme cases where both fighters are exactly matched, The judge could have an opportunity to call it 2-2 (or 3-3) for the round (similar to 10-10 that does happen).

  • David says:

    Isn’t this the type of thing Marc Ratner should be taking care of. He was brought in for legitamacy but has been notably absent from everything for over a year.

  • Echolocating says:

    Again, I think a lot of people are just proposing new ways to describe the half-point system. It’s clearly better to have a greater range to score a round so that extremely close rounds don’t carry as much weight as decisive rounds do.

    If you want MMA judging to adopt a better scoring system, don’t rock the boat too much by offering a completely new methodology. It’s better to slip in a minor change (half-point system) with maximum impact rather than a drastic change that achieves the same result. The half-point system is the easiest and most effective way to move forward on changing the standard for scoring MMA.

  • Echolocating says:

    Also, the reason why the 10-point-must system works for boxing as it current works is because of the larger number of rounds. With fewer rounds, you logically need a more diverse scoring system… like the half-point system. 😉

  • king mah mah says:

    @34, I think you have a pretty good idea there. But they could do the same thing right now with the ten point system, if they would just utilize all ten points like I was saying before.

  • neijia says:

    I miss the Pride yellow card as well. Good disincentive for stalling tactics. Docks your pay immediately. Definitely a keeper.

    Another idea: I would like to see some combination of Abu Dhabi submission wrestling rules mixed with IKF San Shou format rules, minus the 8 count. I like the 5 second clinch break up rule and the high altitude rule. In current mma, good throws are de-emphasized with the bjj and sub grappling rule bias for any kind of takedown. Pick-ups and slams like Rampage did to Griffin should also count for A LOT more than some stupid leg kicks, even a good one. Ok, yeah, it’s a little pro-wrestling ish.

    Not sure what the exact points would have to be. Probably double the stand-up points and keep the ADCC points as is. Otherwise, we’ll just be seeing sub grappling and not exciting mma with more exciting stand-up.

    Also, I like their 1-0 scoring for rounds. Fighters who win the most rounds win the bout. None of this stupid 10-9, 10-8, 10-7 shit.

  • neijia says:

    So basically:
    2 -Mount position
    2 -Knee on stomach
    2 -Sweeps (ends Guard or Half Guard)
    2 -Takedown (ends Guard or Half Guard)
    3 -Back mount with hooks
    3 -Passing the guard
    4 -Clean Sweep (ends passed the guard)
    4 -Clean Takedown (ends passed the guard)
    4 – Clean Knockdown from strike regardless of guard
    6 – high altitude, explosive or devastating throw.

    Rounds and Bout:
    # At the end of each round, each judge will write the TOTAL amount of points for each fighter on their score card. Although the WINNER will only receive “1” point on the MASTER SCORE SHEET kept by the Chief Ringside Scorekeepers, it is good for review purposes to know the total points each judge scored the bout as.
    # At the end of each round, the Chief Ringside Scorekeepers will only give “1” point to the WINNING fighter who is the fighter with the most points in the round. The losing fighter will receive “0” points.
    # At the end of the bout, unless the bout was stopped prior to the end of the scheduled rounds (KO, TKO DQ etc.) the fighter with the most rounds WON will win the bout.

  • OZON3 says:

    Sam –

    Good write up. I’m not bashing the 10-point must system but i do think i have a better system that is a compromise between point scoring and the 10-point MUST system. I call it the 10-Point MAX System.

    The 10-POINT MAX SYSTEM is broken down into 5 categories:

    1. Striking (boxing/kickboxing/muay thai)
    2. BJJ (submission attempts/submission defense)
    3. Wrestling (takedowns/takedown defense)
    4. Ground-and-Pound
    5. Aggressiveness (willingness to engage to finish the fight)

    There is a MAXIMUM of 2 points that can be earned in each category. Judges can award point values of 0, 1, or 2 points in each category to each fighter. If a fighter completely dominates a round in every area of the fight (striking, bjj, wrestling, GnP, aggressiveness), he can be awarded 2 points in each category for a maximum of 10 points (5 x 2) for the round. If neither fighter attempts any takedowns in a round, the round may be scored 0-0 in the wrestling category. In addition, the Ground-and-Pound category would also be scored 0-0 if the fight never went to the ground. A fighter only earns points for techniques he uses during the fight.

    I can breakdown each category if anyone is interested and give you examples of when a particular category would be scored 2-0, 2-1, 1-1 etc. I even created a sample MMA score card using excel that i can send to you.

    Its difficult for a judge to keep track of all the different types of strikes and submission attempts and positions to accurately score a round using a true points system. However, i don’t think my system is too difficult to implement during a live fight. Afterall, if you’re an MMA judge, its YOUR JOB to understand these 5 basic categories and determine which fighter is winning in each area of the fight.

    In the end though, i think competent judges are required before a new system can be implemented.

  • OZON3 says:

    i think #34 Erik is thinking along the same lines as me.

    My system is a little more detailed which allows a fighter to win a dominant round, for example, with a score of 8-3 but does not completely prevent his opponent from coming back to win rounds 2 and 3 by using a versatile MMA game to score points in any of the 5 categories defined.

    Obviously this system is a disadvantage to one dimensional fighters like strikers who only want to stand and bang or bjj who want to take it to the ground. But this system is not meant to favor one particular style of fighting…. this is MMA. A striker is going for the knockout. If he doesn’t get the KO and it goes to the judges, he has no one to blame if he loses on points. Likewise, a wrestler laying and praying for 3 rounds may not score enough points to justify winning the decision.

    Maybe we’ll see more ties. Maybe fighters will be more aggressive and try to finish the fights. Maybe we’ll see a quicker evolution of the quintessential mixed martial artist who is strong in all categories of the game… like a GSP but more fighters like him.


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