Taking the "MUST" out of Judging

Since UFC 129 the hot topic has been GSP and his inability to finish a fight. Some blame GSP for not wanting it bad enough and that he fears losing so bad that it causes him to play safe to ensure a W. Others claim that the loss of one eye due to a Jake Shields eye poke was the cause. Issues such as this will come and go as the next event aproaches much like the Dan Henderson hulk smash and the Nashville brawl. Each event will become nothing more than a footnote that can only be remembered by the people who watched it at the time or those who care to go back and look. One problemthat seems to keep rearing its ugly head is MMA judging.

Sure many of the bad decisions serve nothing more than a fun fact too throw in someones face when looking for the upper hand in an argument (Machida/Rua 1). This is a problem that will pop up again and MMA fans will come to arms with gifs, pictures, and a rich history to back up his or her point, but the problem is that the judges decision is questionable, who gives a shit about the details of it. The decision will not change, and the fighter will still have the loss on his record.

The problem with MMA judging is the "must" in a 10 point must system. No one MMA fighter has scored a point in modern MMA history, just fought well enough to not get one taken away. The idea that a fighter is scoring points is wrong, he or she starts with 10 and hopes to sway the judges into taking one of the other fighters points away.  Mod on here have said the 10 point must system is fine, it just needs to be used correctly. Thats the problem, the judges do not use it correctly. Much of the problem lies in gray areas of scoring criteria such as aggression and octagon control.

More after the jump

 A 20 point scoring system which break down in to 4 catergories (striking, clinching, grappling, and overall skill) would serve MMA better. Each catergory would have a total of 5 points that could be earned. In tis system each fighter starts out with 0 and must earn as many of the 5 points as possiable. For example if the entire round takes place on the feet there would be 0 points scored for grappling. The catergories break down as follows.


Pretty straight forward, guy who is the better striker. Has nothing to do with aggression, octagon control, or any other gray area which would leave the action open for debate. The fighter who uses his or her striking more effectively scores more points. With the 5 point system it is possiable for both fighter to get 3's or one fighter to get an edge with a 4 to 3 score.


The fighter who uses the clinch more effectively. for example a fighter who gets in the clinch and beats the shit out of the other guy while being forced against the cage earns more points. Positional control will only matter on a smale scale and will score only slightly higher than the other fighter (example being 3 to 2).


The better fighter on the ground, be it Jui Jitsu or wrestling. If a wrestler gets the TD, but once there does nothing besides fend off submissions he losses that round. Being on top will only earn the fighter points if the fighter on bottom is unable to do any form of offense or the wrestling is being effective in doing damage to the other fighter. Use of ground and pound will also be judged in the catergory.


This is the only gray area that could cause problems, but i fell that if a fighter mixes up all the skills needed to fight in MMA effectivtely it should be rewarded. In this case the fighter who puts together the best use of all the skills will earn more points here. Rashad Evans would earn a ton of points with his ability to mix up strikes with clinch and takedowns. This is a catergory to judge as a whole who is the better all around fighter. Once again this could very well be a 0 on both score cards if the fight is all stand up.

It looks like a mathematical nightmare that could hold up decisions, but the following is a mock up of how the score cards would look. NOTE: this is going to look ugly, i have no programs to make tables so bare with me.

                                          RD 1      T            RD 2        T            RD 3       T            RD 4       T     RD5   T     

                       Striking           3       

F. Edgar       Clinching        2       13

                       Grappling      4

                      Overall            4


                      Striking          4

G. Maynard  Clinching      3    14

                       Grappling     3

                       Overall          4


The three major advantages to the following system would be:


This would show an exact paper trail to how a judge came to his/her decision. No more wondering what they were scoring because it would be right there in front of you. Hell this could allow anyone interested enough to complie the past scorecards and do a profile on what each judge looks for. It could open up a new dynamic to how a fighter will gameplan for a fight.


With this system a fighter is not out of the fight if he is edged in the first two rounds of a three round fight. If he losses the first two rounds by 2 or three points and he sees the other fighter gassed it is possiable for him to come out and score enough points to win the entire fight. WIth this system a fighter never really knows where he or she is in the fight (unless of course they destroy the other fighter). No more sneeking past rounds to win a fight.


Finally no more gray areas. The aggression catergory is meant to encourage fighters to take risks, but many times fighers have won on that aggression dispite clearly losing the fight (i'm looking at you Garcia). There is no more gray areas in which a fighter can exploit in order to steal a fight that is not his. This is the biggest problem that a system such as the one i put forward hopes to remedy.

There is no sure fire way to judge a fight, but clearly the "must" has to go. Like i said earlier, if used right the 10 point must is a great way to judge a fight, but with gray areas such as aggression and octagon control there are too many bases to cover and that system just does not work. Sure what i have put forward is a shit ton of points to add up, but in MMA there is a shit ton of things to consider when picking a winner.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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