Making the case for a 1-criterion judging system

This FanPost intends to argue in favour of scoring fights based solely on effective offence rather than a multiple of different categories. It's my first attempt at contributing to this amazing site (other than a handful of comments) so be nice!

The ideas behind this judging system came a few weeks ago while I was reading yet another heated discussion relating to the seemingly never-ending debate on the value of takedowns and the under-appreciation of the guard (or rather, the guard of talented, aggressive BJJ practitioners). Should a takedown in itself be scored? How do you score a fight where a fighter goes 1-for-15 in takedowns (eg. Sanchez vs Kampmann)? Is a sweep better than a takedown?

While I understand the notion behind breaking down the mechanics of a fight into distinct categories in order to better quantify the output of a fighter, I feel this is a backwards way of going about scoring fights. Assuming classic NHB/fight-to-a-finish style rules, a wrestler would still take his opponent down because by doing so he would feel he would be able to maximise his offensive output while taking the least damage. The takedown is a means to an end, the end being ground'n'pound (and potentially a stoppage). If the fighter did not think he would be able to assert his dominance by getting the takedown, why would it be in his interest to shoot a double?

Similarly, a talented BJJ player may feel it is in his best interest to pull guard. Provided he generates offence off his back (or at least neutralises his opponent while looking for submissions), who is to say he isn't the one in the dominant position?

And speaking of dominant positions, I think every position should be considered neutral. Currently, the positions that are considered dominant are the same ones where the fighter on top is more likely to generate effective offence. By extension: if the position really is dominant, wouldn't it automatically translate into offence? If you achieve full mount, do you really need extra credit for doing so? Isn't the opportunity to rain down punches (and thus, score points) a fair "award" for positional dominance? If you achieve mount and do absolutely nothing with it, maybe even take a few elbows to the face, why should you be better off for it?

Consider the Simpson vs Tavares fight: if we eliminate control, grappling, aggression and defence, the fight would most likely have been a 30-30 affair like our own Dallas Winston scored it. This would mean that the grinding style of wall'n'stallers would have a less obvious effect on the scorecards, but given that the notion behind grinding is to wear out your opponent, isn't it only fair that a fighter only starts racking up points once he's able to take advantage of his opponent's supposed fatigue? If the Simpson-Tavares fight had ended with a clear but unspectacular round for Tavares, he would have lost the fight 29-28 under the current rules. I would certainly argue that if Fighter A tries to grind on Fighter B to tire him out and Fighter B wins the striking exchanges, then Fighter A's strategy failed. And I really don't want judges to try to quantify the tiredness exuded by Fighter B in this case, I'd much rather have them score the fight based on clear evidence, ie. offence generated. If Simpson had scored damage in the final round as a result of his opponent being tired then he should win the fight 30-29 and his strategy would've worked to a tee. Under the 1-criterion ruleset, gameplans would focus solely on how to neutralise the opponent's means to inflicting damage while maximising your own offensive potential rather than incorporating ways of securing takedowns at key points.

Oh, and when I say "1 criterion judging system" I may mean "1 main criterion but a host of criteria to be used as tiebreakers", only the latter isn't as catchy. I still think close submission attempts should be scored (even though they technically aren't "effective" offence given that they failed) but perhaps under a separate category called "Proximity to finishing the fight". On a related note, I would classify 10-8 rounds as rounds where there is either a huge disparity in generated offence or a less significant disparity coupled with the fighter coming close to finishing the fight. A 10-7 would be given in the unlikely case that a fighter enjoyed a huge disparity in offence generated while also having the other fighter on the brink of defeat. I'm unsure about 10-10 rounds; my favourite scenario would be 10-10's being scored the way Dallas Winston scores them (ie. frequently!) and extra rounds coming into play if the fight as a whole is scored a draw, but I could live with control/aggression/etc. being tiebreakers. Overall, though, I'd prefer if rounds were scored as draws and all the other criteria only came into play when the judges were forced to pick a winner.

In any case, I'm merely trying to argue in favour of a completely different way of looking at scoring rather than coming up with some sort of quick-fix solution. You may say that "dumbing down" the scoring criteria is itself a backwards way of going about things and that we should be educating the judges rather than making it easier for them, but in many ways, the added transparency of judging is simply a bonus or an added incentive, if you will; I firmly believe that the discarding of categories that have to do with anything other than offence (and submission attempts) is a more fair and natural way of going about things. It isn't about punishing wrestlers - Fitch will still be able to win by Fitching - but rather about ensuring that the only way to win a fight is to try to damage your opponent.

\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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