With MMA, the less we hear about the officials the more it means they are doing their jobs correctly. An MMA official is sort of like a doctor in that one of their primary functions is to do no harm. That maxim got put to the test more than once at UFC Vegas 32.
The main event of UFC Vegas 32, a bantamweight bout between Cory Sandhagen and former UFC 135-pound champion T.J. Dillashaw has already gone under the microscope. Before the judges struggled in the fourth and fifth rounds of that contest, they had a hard time in the second round of the women’s flyweight scrap between Maycee Barber and Miranda Maverick.
The judges in the bout, Sal D’Amato, Dave Hagen and Chris Lee all agreed on the first and third rounds. The second round was the outlier. D’Amato and Hagen scored that stanza for Barber, while Lee had it for Maverick.
For background on the “Scouring the Scoring” series and details on the review process, GO HERE.
Like the Sandhagen and Dillashaw fight, there was no reason to go beyond the primary scoring criteria in the Maverick vs. Barber fight — “Effective Striking/Grappling.”
“Legal blows that have immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute towards the end of the match with the IMMEDIATE weighing in more heavily than the cumulative impact. Successful execution of takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions that produce immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute to the end of the match, with the IMMEDIATE weighing more heavily than the cumulative impact.”
It shall be noted that a successful takedown is not merely a changing of position, but the establishment of an attack from the use of the takedown.
Maverick was the busier striker and more effective striker throughout the round. She landed body and leg kicks early and then mixed in her punches. Maverick also attacked with combinations, while Barber focused on single strikes. Maverick also used her striking from distance and in the clinch.
With under a minute left in the round, Maverick scored a takedown. She then transitioned to Barber’s back and locked in a body lock before finishing the round on the ground and landing strikes to Barber’s head.
I don’t see a way to score the second round for Barber, but let’s say the dissenting judges saw the striking and grappling as even and moved on to the second criteria, which is “effective aggressiveness.”
“Aggressively making attempts to finish the fight. The key term is ‘effective’. Chasing after an opponent with no effective result or impact should not render in the judges’ assessments.”
Effective Aggressiveness is only to be assessed if Effective Striking/Grappling is 100% equal for both competitors.
Maverick was the more aggressive fighter for most of the round. Her striking was more aggressive and more powerful. She was, in my mind, trying her best to end the fight with her strikes. Yes, Barber was being effective in her defense, but MMA is an offensive sport and defense plays no part in the official scoring criteria.
Noted in the scoring criteria:
MMA is an offensive based sport. No scoring is given for defensive maneuvers.
For argument’s sake, I’ll say the effective aggressiveness was even. With that the judges would then consider the third criteria — “fighting area control.”
Fighting Area Control
“Fighting area control is assessed by determining who is dictating the pace, place and position of the match.”
Fighting Area Control” shall only to be assessed if Effective Striking/Grappling and Effective Aggressiveness is 100% equal for both competitors. This will be assessed very rarely.
Again, this would have gone to Maverick. She controlled the center of the octagon in the striking exchanges and kept Barber in a mostly defensive position. She also had control time on the mat after she scored a takedown and where she generated offense.
Watching the second round of this fight again, I find it impossible to see a way that Barber won the second round. In my mind, judging by the priority criteria, Miranda Maverick should have had her hand raised in victory at UFC Vegas 32.