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‘We just need better judging’ - Al Iaquinta opposes open scoring for MMA

Unlike many of his now-former peers, Al Iaquinta isn’t fond of the concept of open scoring for MMA.

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Because of the judging controversies that have plagued the sport throughout the years, many fighters have been calling for an open scoring system in MMA. Just recently, UFC veteran Matt Brown, who lost via split decision to Bryan Barberena at UFC Columbus on Saturday, had this to say.

“In any other sport you get to see the score, right?” Brown said in his recent guesting on the MMA Hour. “Other than boxing, I guess, not necessarily combat sports, but in wrestling or if you’re playing football and it’s the fourth quarter, you know that you’re down by a touchdown, you’ve got to go for it. You’ve got to throw the Hail Mary.”

There is, indeed, an argument to be made, but not everyone agrees. For recently retired lightweight fighter Al Iaquinta, knowing how you’re faring in a fight could be problematic.

“It changes everything. That would change the sport,” Iaquinta said in a recent episode of MMA Fighting’s Heck of a Morning podcast. “In between rounds, everyone’s going to be looking up at the scoreboard, and how many guys would it really affect? Even with bad judging, it’s almost like it’s part of the sport now.

“I’d tell you one thing: if I thought I was up two rounds, and they flashed the scorecards in-between the second and third, and I found out that I was down, I might have a mental breakdown. I might jump over the cage and attack the judges.”

“Raging Al” has been amidst judging controversies himself, most notably during his 2015 fight with Jorge Masvidal. He ended up winning via split decision, much to the dismay of the crowd in attendance to whom he later gave a piece of his mind.

Ultimately, Iaquinta says it all boils down to judging.

“I just have a feeling that it sounds good in theory, but then when you add something like that in it just changes the experience,” he explained. “I can understand why in some circumstances it would’ve been useful, but in 99 percent of fighting in the UFC, or MMA, we just need better judging.

“We need to figure out the judging. Having the fighters know there’s a bad judge, I’d rather just have good judging — then fighters don’t need to know that they’re down.”

The 34-year-old Iaquinta (14-7-1) last fought at UFC 268 in November against Bobby Green after two years on the sidelines. He lost via first-round TKO to compile a three-fight losing streak. He announced his retirement on his show two weeks later.