I was pleasantly surprised to hear Joe Rogan rant against the ineptitude we see so often in MMA judges. Like many, I believe that it's the judges who are the problem, not the ten-point must system. Replacing the old guard of boxing judges with a new breed of judges who are intimately familiar with the nuances of MMA will go a very long way to solving the problems with bad decisions.
I was with Joe Rogan right until this sentence in his response to Keith Kizer (emphasis has been added by me):
Mixed Martial Arts is a far more complicated sport than boxing, and in order for someone to be educated in the subtle details that are playing out in a fight they have to have some martial arts experience themselves.
I'm sorry, but this is just not true and it offends my sensibilities as a fan. It strikes me as the classic (and equally wrong) chicken hawk argument that says that only those who have served in the military have a right to make policy on war or defense. While some might find it helpful to have experience, I don't think it needs to be prerequisite.
You can be a rocket scientist without ever going to space. You can be an oncologist without ever having had cancer yourself. And most importantly, you can correctly identify a table and chairs without having any experience as a carpenter. There is a lot that careful study can teach you about a subject; enough that it should make you a credible source of information on the topic and a capable arbiter, if necessary.
Would one be more likely to give greater credence to something like a leg kick if they had taken a few hard ones themself? Yes, probably. But that only amplifies the problem. Judges who lend greater weight to the techniques they practice are nothing if not biased. It shouldn't matter if your background is in boxing, grappling, traditional martial arts, or if you have no background. All that matters is that you be competent and faithful to the judging criteria given to you by the athletic commission. Anything more is either bias or a willful disregard for the official standards in place.
I am not suggesting that experience in fighting or training is a bad thing to look for in judges. What I am saying is that prioritizing that sort of background will result in the exclusion of smart, knowledgeable, and competent people who could do the job just as well. And in the end, getting the best people for the job should really be the primary goal.