There was a time when the ringside judge's seat was the best view to watch prize fighting. With the advent of multiple camera angles, HD technology, and slow-motion replay, the couch in your living room is the best seat for fight watching in 2011.
Athletic commissions have been slow to adapt to current technology. While the fan at home has the best possible view of a fight, judges cageside are still forced to ignore big screens in the arena, and make do with a single, suboptimal angle of the action.
After years of judging controversy, the UFC is taking the initiative. Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting reports:
Marc Ratner, the UFC's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, informed MMA Fighting that the organization has formally submitted a request to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to install monitors as a backup viewing option for the judges assigned to score the bouts at UFC 130.
"I've emailed [NSAC Executive Director] Keith [Kizer] and asked him to put the request on the next agenda. We believe these monitors will be another look to help with the judges," Ratner wrote via e-mail.
When MMA Fighting asked NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer if he would be open to the idea, Kizer replied, "Maybe." He added that it was up to a promoter to formally ask for the monitors to be present.
"A promoter can petition (to allow judges to have personal monitors,) and we'd put it on the agenda," Kizer told MMA Fighting last week. "The UFC is well aware of the process but has chosen not to ask in the past."
It's about damn time. I'm amazed that the commissions haven't been more proactive about this themselves, but I suppose that's par for the course for bureaucracy. Hopefully the NSAC approves the UFC's request, and video monitors become a standard instrument for judges sitting cageside.
UFC 130 takes place May 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada, and features a lightweight title rematch between champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard. Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Thiago Alves, and Quinton Jackson are all scheduled to appear on the card.