The scoring system present in mixed martial arts has been under intense scrutiny since UFC 167’s highly controversial main event between Georges St. Pierre and Johny Hendricks. Most close to the sport believe that it is time for change. An open scoring system has been proposed, but as with anything new and untested, there are definite pros and cons.
One thing is certain, though, that the damage done by a fighter must be taken into account. Judging an MMA fight similar to boxing by essentially giving the man who lands the most shots regardless of impact is an outdated practice that is obviously leading to unnecessary conflict and debate.
It’s an interesting discussion with many points and counterpoints. Longtime UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon, who knows a thing or two about not letting it go to the judges, gave his take on the subject to MixedMartialArts.com:
Boxing is very straightforward - you hit the other guy until he can’t stand. How do you score this though…two guys fighting, we will call them Apollo and Rocky.
In one round, Apollo lands a TON of punches and while they are starting to take effect, Rocky stays on his feet. Towards the end of the round, Rocky lands a couple HUGE shots, and wobbles Apollo but he doesn’t go down. Now Rocky was getting beat up for 2:45 of a 3:00 round, but landed those huge shots at the end of the round. Who gets the round? Apollo for controlling and winning most of the round, or Rocky for landing the biggest and best shots of the round. It’s a tough decision, but this is just quality versus volume.
Some will say Apollo won the round and some will say Rocky. Its tough to get the same answer from lots of people though, because it’s subjective and you are comparing apples to oranges.
Now, same thing, Apollo and Rocky fight in an MMA match. Apollo is using his jab and beating up Rocky for most of the round, but towards the end of the round, Rocky shoots a double and works some ground and pound, passes the guard and sinks a read naked choke, but Apollo is saved by the bell. Now you have to compare standup striking and balance that against ground and pound, but also factor in a takedown and a near submission. How many punches did that takedown cancel out? How many did the submission?
Comparing apples to oranges is tough, comparing a grouping of apples, oranges, bananas, pineapples and grapes is even tougher when nothing matches up. Decisions suck. Always fight for the finish, and don’t let someone else have any influence on your winning or losing.
Lauzon, the owner of an amazing 12 Fight Night Bonuses, knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t always win when he steps into the cage, but he does lay it all on the line every time. His fighting spirit was on full display in his bloody loss to Jim Miller at UFC 155.
But his main strength has always been his fight-ending submissions.
He’s out there to finish or be finished, and while that’s a difficult mantra to take into a fight with the magnitude of St.. Pierre vs. Hendricks, there’s no doubt that MMA as a whole would benefit from this attitude.
What are your thoughts on the continuing debate? Should power punches be rewarded more than volume? How would you implement overarching change in MMA’s currently flawed scoring system?
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