Joe Rogan Blasts Athletic Commissions, Calls For Change In MMA Scoring


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.

Rogan recently appeared on a FOX Sports Podcast to clarify his views on MMA scoring, and how it should change (transcribed by Bloody Elbow):

“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?


  • I just argued with Cox about this whole thing in the Rousey post. The whole commission is a joke. Not only a joke but dirty. MMA is destined to end up like boxing with a pro wrestling dramatic flair. Unless fans start getting pissed and calling for change it will never be a real sport. Pro sports have enough trouble with cheating with huge watch dog groups. Mma is much much worse. Especially at the lower pro levels. I have seen some really shady, dangerous, and blown reffing and judging. Judo and Bjj have more structure. Hell even Sambo though its small in the US has judges and refs that know the rules. It's really a problem.

  • It's shocking how everyone can see a problem but no is willing to do anything to fix it. Sorry did I say shocking? I mean exactly what you would expect from the US government.

  • And this isn't even the harshest criticism he had. He flat out called CJ Ross (judge from the Mayweather fight) a criminal in one form or another and said that he wouldn't be surprised if the mob had some serious influence with the Nevada commission.

    • News Flash: Joe Rogan found floating face down in the east river

  • Sounds like Govt, too much power and no brains.
    Look how dumb the early wrestling commissions were. They thought that crap was real.

  • I would argue that the majority of fights end with a good decision. We do get bad decisions but boxing is no different. Take down scoring definetly needs a review.The problem with any judging will be how hard was the shot and did it land cleanly…Does 10 light leg kicks score heavier than a whopping straight right and uppercut that wobbles an opponent. Should championship rounds score higher?

    • The multiple leg kicks vs one power punch is a great point, I always try to measure volume vs damage and it isn't always easy. What do you favor more 2 mins of all round striking with no serious damage inflicted or a takedown and 2 mins of GnP but no serious damage inflicted and no gaurd passing ? How many strikes should be equal to a guard pass ? Boxing is the sport of punching using their scoring criteria has never made any sense, I don't how this can change but I hope it does.