Many MMA fans and media members have been calling for a change in MMA scoring for a while now. Baffling judges’ decisions sometimes mar events and leave viewers scratching their heads with little explanation for the events they just witnessed.
Some believe that less of an emphasis should be placed on wrestling, especially if a fighter does precious little damage with a takedown. Others think that a new scoring system altogether should be implemented, and UFC Octagon announcer Joe Rogan is among them.
“Scoring is very flawed,” said Rogan. “It’s flawed in a bunch of different ways. The biggest reason it’s flawed is because of the 10-Point Must system which was adopted from boxing. That might work in a 12-round fight. 12, three-minute rounds is very different than three, five-minute rounds. Three, five minute rounds, you’re going 10-9 on rounds that either guy could win and then the next round a guy could get taken down, busted up, dropped, and you score that a 10-9 as well. That makes no f—ing sense. The system in place right now, the scoring system, is from boxing and they need to develop one just for MMA.
“The (athletic commissions) don’t do s—. The athletic commissions do a woefully inadequate job on several levels. The UFC can’t dictate who judges. the UFC can’t dictate who referees. The UFC can’t dictate what the rules are. They can’t do anything. They can work with the commission to try to give suggestions and come up with ways around problems, but ultimately it’s the job of the athletic commission.”
Spending much time around mixed martial arts as both an announcer and a student, Rogan raises some very interesting opinions here. His breakdown of why the 10-Point Must system works for boxing but not for MMA is a very valid argument.
After all, it is seemingly futile to score a close round 10-9 and then give the other fighter the same score for a round where he inflicted significant damage. Rogan’s stance seems to trend more to gauging who does the most damage. That is ultimately what an MMA fight boils down to, much more so than boxing.
Certain judges’ decisions, such as August’s Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida bout at UFC 163, for example, are rendered highly controversial. But like Rogan stated, they are largely out of the UFC’s hands. There’s no certainty that the UFC could provide better judges were they allowed to choose them, but perhaps at least a clear-cut scoring and judging criteria could be put in place.
Rogan has some blunt criticism for the athletic commissions that oversee MMA, and he makes some great points in doing so. Is it time for a new way of judging MMA bouts to arise, and if so, how would you enact effective change? How can the playing field be made level?