California to Test New MMA Scoring Methods in Amateur Bouts

Aaron Riley gives two thumbs up for experimentation. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Big news on the "MMA needs better scoring" front as California is at least testing the waters with a new system. ESPN has the details on the situation:

The new system will be used in amateur bouts in California during the 2011 calendar year, allowing the state to serve as a Petri dish without risking the livelihood of professional mixed martial artists. It figures to be tested in more than 100 bouts.

...

The system, which includes using half points as well as putting increased emphasis on damage, striking and grappling, was developed by Nelson "Doc" Hamilton, a licensed judge and referee and one of the foremost authorities on MMA and regulatory issues. An advocate of the movement to legalize MMA in California in the late 1990s, Hamilton spent the past three years devising a new standard that proponents such as Dodd and referee John McCarthy suggest could alleviate much of the heartache that comes when MMA bouts go the distance.

Mike Fagan is going to go a lot more in depth on this tomorrow than I am but I will still point out a few things.

Putting emphasis on much more tangible things such as damage, striking and grappling and away from qualities that defy definition such as "Octagon Control" is a very good thing and strikes me as more important than the "half-point system." This is especially true given that we have judges who have the ability but not the willingness to use the scoring methods that are currently at their disposal. Judges can, and should, be giving a lot more 10-8 rounds right now, but they stick to what is most comfortable for them.

Judge training and accountability are most important in making any scoring system work as well as it should.

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