In the wake of another decision that people are questioning (I think the decision was fairly accurate for the record), it's time to change judging and scoring, or at least clarify it.
So let's do it. Let's make a scoring system for MMA. We can leave a little room for judgement and human decision, so don't worry and calm down, Sal D'Amato. But we can also eliminate all the horrendous decisions, and stop all the whining about robberies. Why not improve on one of boxing's worst flaws, instead of continuing to follow in one of its shadowy footsteps?
Here it is, and stay with me before trashing me in the comments:
- 1-3 points for every clean strike landed. 1 point for a normal strike, 2-3 for a significant strike; it's up to the judges/scorers to determine the damage done by each strike and score the according points.
- 3-4 points for a takedown. 3 points for the average takedown, 4 for slams or more damaging/dominant ones.
- 1 point for an escape (from the bottom), 2 points for a reversal.
- 1-3 points for every clear submission attempt, again leaving it up to the judges/scorers to assess points determining how deep the submission attempt was.
- 3-5 points for knockdowns (from strikes). 3 points for knockdowns that come from strikes like low kicks or knockdowns in which the fighter isn't badly hurt, 5 points for seriously damaging ones (like Hendo landed in the first round today in the second Bisping fight). Again leaving room for judges/scorers to assess the points based on severity.
- 1 point for every 10 seconds of top control on the ground. I'm up for altering this one slightly, as it's an interesting and debatable area. But I think it's about fair. I considered saying something like 1 point for every 15 seconds of full guard, 2 points for half guard or side control, 3 for full guard or on the back, but that gets to some seriously tedious and complicated areas for people who are supposed to be scoring a live event. So I'm sticking with 1 point for every 10 seconds you are on top of your opponent (including the back) for now.
- I would also suggest subtracting points for every foul--and remember, this system I'm suggesting is separate from points that referees can deduct. This system I'm suggesting is to make judging/scoring by round to determine who wins 10-9 (or 10-8) more accurate, more professional, and more easily followed. So, in this system I'd say deducting 2-4 points for every eye poke, low blow, or any other foul is about fair.
I'd leave out octagon control, although that could be the deciding factor if the points were near even for a round, if it's very obvious who has controlled the ring (an overrated area though for me). The judges or scorers, whatever they must be called, should be people that are tested on MMA knowledge, have been tested as accurate and competent by scoring past video events using this or a similar point system, and that have some other first-hand experience in MMA.
Then, during the live event, the scorers can assess the points electronically in a comfortable way that they don't need to take their eyes off the action. At the end of a round, the three judges/scorers points are averaged for each fighter, and the round is given 10-9 (or 10-8) to whichever fighter has more points. If a round is within one point, like 12-11, or 13.5-13, I think a 10-10 round should be given. If in one round a fighter has 25-30 more points (I'm up for debate again here on the exact numger) than his/her opponent, that should be a 10-8 round.
There we go! That wasn't so hard after all. I don't see what's stopping adding at least some science or statistics to judging, as it's entirely blind at this point.
Let me know your thoughts or improvements or arguments, cheers!