The Scoring System.Posted on April 6, 2011, 01:38 AM by doomsdayapex
For as long as combat sports have existed, a scoring system has always made it's presence felt."Don't leave the fight into the hands of the judges."
Perhaps the most known and recited phrase in a fighter's career. Rightfully so, but in a sport such as Mixed Martial Arts, nothing is ever guaranteed or warranted. It doesn't matter how much knock out power you carry around or how many submissions you are acquainted with, a decision is inevitable in one's career. And when that day or night comes, your career is put into the hands of three individuals who don't always see lightning fast strikes or fathom what they're witnessing on the ground.
Furthermore, the scoring system that is utilized by the Ultimate Fighting Championships is not fit for a sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts bout. The system is borrowed from a completely different (one-dimensional) combat sport. While the system has been customized for MMA, complications are found wherever one looks. The current sanctioning body just wasn't made for the martial arts. Yet, these are not the days of old where there were no time limits and every bout had a finish. Modern fighters are more evenly matched in regards to skill, speed, power and stamina. Now, there has to regulations but surely I think those in the position to make a difference could have created a much more proficient scoring system than the one that is put into use today.
For example, the system tends to reward an individual who is able to execute a takedown successfully, but does it reward an individual who executes a sweep? No. Ironically, this flaw has also created vast hysteria among the already vexed fans. A fighter can simply grind out a decision by the usage of takedowns and nothing more. This problem is not complex and can be fixed with a simple rule change. Similar to what the PRIDE Fighting Championships used, a penalty (Yellow Card) will force the fighter on top to finish instead of riding out the position.
[For those who are not familiar with the PRIDE Yellow Card, the penalty card was put into use to make sure a fighter did not fail to initiate any offensive attack (stalling). When a referee issued a Yellow Card, the individual who received it would get 10% of his or her purse deducted.]
Returning to the matter at hand, the system has created unnecessary bad decisions and loopholes for those who are fighting under it. A 10-9 scoring system works great for Boxing and Kickboxing, but it is too complex for a sport like MMA. In martial arts competitions, you have to consider more than just striking. You have to acknowledge a combination of one's grappling, submissions, defense, etc.
Another complication is the quality of training these judges undergo. Most are completely uneducated when coming to the elementary tactics of set pieces like leg kicks. And what's worse is that the athletic commissions do not accept responsibilty for their incompetence or ignorance. Take what Cecil Peoples stated about leg kicks right after the controversial decision involving the Shogun/Machida bout -- "In my opinion, leg kicks are not that effective in a fight. They do not cause as much damage as an uppercut." Absurdity at it's finest. Although Cecil would go on to say that he would have scored the bout differently (in favor for Rua) months later, the damage had already been done.
Some would argue that the system is very subjective but I believe the judging criteria is too vague. Effective Striking, Grappling, Aggression and Octagon Control do not imply towards a defended takedown or defended submission properly in the end.
It's time to implement a new system. Personally, I would love a system where instead of being given points, you'd have to fight for them. But hey, that's just me.
What are your thoughts? Is the officiating in shambles? Do you believe that MMA is desperately in need of a new scoring system?
- 1. Yes
- 2. No