Does Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida Show That It's Time to End the 10 Points Must System in MMA Judging?

Cecil-peoples-figure_medium Michael David Smith thinks so:

Judging the whole fight objectively and determining who was better is not precisely what MMA judges do, but maybe it should be. If the 10-point must system can lead to Guida winning a fight in which Sanchez was clearly the better fighter, maybe it's time to scrap the 10-point must system.


Some people who want to change MMA judging think MMA should get rid of round-by-round scoring and simply judge the whole fight, as some Japanese MMA promotions do. Others think the round-by-round scoring is OK, but the 10-point must system should be replaced with another scoring method. Still others think the 10-point must system is OK but the problem is that judges score rounds 10-9 too often and should feel free less inhibited about scoring close rounds 10-10 and one-sided rounds 10-8, or even 10-7.

Personally, I'm sympathetic to the latter point of view. I'd like to see MMA move more toward the K-1 style of scoring, where judges use the 10-point must system but feel much more freedom to score rounds 10-10 or 10-8. In American MMA, almost every round is a 10-9 round. That's what leads to scores like 29-28 for Guida and 29-28 for Villasenor.

I've always felt the 10 point must system is an unnatural bolt-on for MMA added by boxing commissions who simply transferred a system they were familiar with rather than taking the time and effort to develop a judging system appropriate to the sport.

This weekend's fights clearly show the problematic nature of the 10 point must system for MMA.

MMA fighters work too hard to be subject to a judging system that is just flat out not right for the sport. The point of a fight is to determine who is the better fighter, not who can manipulate an artificial scoring regimen to eek out a technical win by the letter of the rules.

Any judging system will inherently be somewhat arbitrary. That's just human nature and fighters know that if they leave it up to the judges that they've put themselves at risk. But that doesn't mean an improved set of scoring criteria isn't needed.

NOTE: The Cecil Peoples image is just there because its the best MMA Judging graphic in existence. Mr. Peoples isn't relevant to this story.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.