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Cory Sandhagen calls for UFC to adopt open scoring

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Cory Sandhagen would like some more clarity in the cage.

Cory Sandhagen before his fight with TJ Dillashaw in 2021.
Cory Sandhagen before his fight with TJ Dillashaw in 2021.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Cory Sandhagen recently came through a bruising five-rounds with former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. That fight, which headlined UFC Vegas 32 in June, was scored a split decision for Dillashaw. However, many observers felt the decision should have gone to ‘The Sandman’.

Recently Sandhagen saw his home state of Colorado adopt open scoring for boxing and MMA bouts. Colorado follows Kansas in allowing promotions to decide whether or not to allow corners to know how the judges have scored the fight after each round.

Count Sandhagen as one fighter who is hoping the UFC utilizes this new tool where available. On a recent episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani he spoke about how much he would have benefited from open scoring in his fight with Dillashaw.

“I think open scoring would be good,” he said (ht MMA News). “I know I would’ve really loved open scoring in the last fight. I was kind of on the fence about it before, too. But I don’t see really what it would hurt. What would that hurt? In every other sport, you get to know the score at the end of the quarter. What would it hurt to do open scoring? I don’t see any damage that it would do. If anything, that would, I think, make for more exciting fights because round three and round five, if the guy knows that he’s down, that could be a really huge advantage. And I think that it would be very fair.”

Unfortunately for Sandhagen, the UFC (and specifically Dana White) are on record slamming open scoring. White has said that he thinks the system would lead to fighters coasting through third rounds and a decrease in finishes.

However, a study conducted of Invicta FC and LFA fights that used open scoring showed that leading fighters did not coast. There was also a minor increase in the percentage of third round finishes.

Sandhagen will need to tolerate closed scoring in his next bout. On October 30th he is scheduled to meet Petr Yan for the vacant UFC interim bantamweight title at UFC 267. That event goes down on Fight Island in the UAE, where the UFC acts as its own commission.