The elusive 10-10 round and scoring in MMA. We were having a debate the other day over at mmamania.com, and the 10-10 round got mentioned. Long story short, a guy named Jay said "technically if the 10-10 round isn't used, does it really exist?" At first in the heat of the moment I thought he was telling me that the 10-10 round doesn't exist, because earlier in the conversation he had brought up how they say at the beginning of UFC broadcasts: "The winner of the round receives 10 points, the loser receives 9 or less." Now that a few days have passed and I've had time to think about it, I realize Jay was simply saying that judges so rarely score a close round 10-10, that it's really either not a "rule" or it's simply something that isn't used, so what's the point of having it or mentioning something that just isn't used when it should be? I very much agree with Jay, either use the rule or change the rules! I then went on to research the 10-10 round and how MMA matches are scored.After a ton of research, the best information I found (that was very current) was herehttp://www.bjpenn.com/forum/topics/csac-proposes-new-mma-scoring. This article tells how fights should be scored. It explains how the 10 point must system for MMA is flawed. It gives a great example: if fighter A gets takedowns in the first and second round and inflicts no damage, and then fighter B dominates the third round and almost finishes the fight, the win will still be awarded to fighter A just based on control. Even though Fighter B almost finished, and dominated, two takedown in two rounds basically won the fight for fighter A.
I've heard some MMA enthusiasts and announcers say that they would like a half point system used in MMA. This would give the judge the power in extremely close rounds, to award half points. For example, a round that was very close but fighter A controlled fighter B against the cage a little bit could be scored 10-9.5. Considering most MMA fights are 3 rounds (compared to boxings 12), I'm not so sure the half point system would work.
Back to the 10-10 round. It is so infrequently used that most fans don't even know it's allowed. In all my research, all I found were articles or forum posts complaining about the Shogun/Machida decision. I said that I thought that fight was a draw, I believe I said round 1 or 2 of that fight was a 10-10 round, I don't remember exactly, but looking at the forums, most fans also thought the fight was a draw, but Machida swayed the judges because he was the champion. Rua ended up avenging that loss, but it's definitely a fight I'm gonna go back and re-watch to see what I think a year later.
In my opinion, the Pride scoring system was the best. Fights were scored as a whole, not round by round. Also, fights were scored with different criteria, in the UFC, octagon control seems to be a huge thing. This gives an extraordinary advantage to a strong wrestler who can take almost anyone down and control them on the ground. Pride rules stated that: "the effort made to finish the fight via KO or submission, damage given to the opponent, standing combinations & ground control, aggressiveness and weight." So if a fighter is on his back and attempting submissions or striking from the bottom, he just may be scoring points with the judges. The damage and standing combinations are a lot better than simply controlling your opponent. Like I mentioned, Pride fights were also based on the whole fight. There are quite a few occasions where a fighter wins a round based on something very small that he did. When a fight is scored as a whole, you can't have a guy "steal" a round with a last second takedown. For a full list of Pride rules go here: http://www.pridefc.com/pride2005/whats_rules.htm.
All I know is that scoring and judging in MMA is a very big topic of discussion among hardcore fans. There are so many fights recently that were scored terribly. In some cases the wrong guy won, in other cases we had 10-8 rounds when they clearly weren't. What is your take on scoring in MMA and how do you think the fights should be scored? You can also see the article and comment over at mondaymorningblackbelt.com.