Judging in mixed martial arts has been a huge topic this year as former referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy gave his thoughts on the matter.
UFC 247 last month was a prime example of controversial and poor judging while the UFC 248 headliner between Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero earlier this month also stirred up plenty of debate when it came to scoring fights.
Although McCarthy acknowledges judging is not easy, especially when the crowd can so easily influence them, the now-Bellator commentator explained how effectiveness should be the main criterion when it comes to scoring a fight.
“The biggest thing we have to have is the judges understanding the criteria that is given to them and how to use it and then understanding in a fight what is effective,” McCarthy told MMA Junkie Radio. “It’s not what is flashy. It’s not the guy that’s moving forward. It is what is the most effective element in that round. Who’s the guy that created the most dangerous situations for their opponent?
“It doesn’t matter if he’s chasing him down. It matters if he is doing the most effective damage during that round. That’s what the judges are looking for.”
McCarthy then brought up the example of Adesanya vs. Romero which saw “The Last Stylebender” come out on top via unanimous decision.
The first round of that middleweight title fight notably saw minimal action with Adesanya advancing more and attempting more strikes. However, Romero landed a huge right hand that ultimately won him the first round on all three judges’ scorecards.
Although McCarthy personally would have scored that round a 10-10, he can see why the judges gave it to Romero:
“Personally, I knew at the end of that (first) round, I knew that every judge, my son was one of those judges, I knew everyone was going to go with Yoel Romero because he landed the one big right hand,” McCarthy said. “You saw Israel rubbing his left eye, blinking his left eye because a knuckle caught him or something, but it showed that that punch had an effect. That’s what I’m talking about: Who affected the other the most?
“I wanted to give it a 10-10 because neither, in my opinion, neither guy deserved to win that round. You didn’t do enough to win that round. You didn’t do enough for me to say you actually get an advantage over your opponent now, having one point higher on the scorecard, but I knew when the round was over, they’re all going to give it to Yoel, and I probably would have to because that’s what the criteria tells me.”
What do you make of McCarthy’s comments? And did you score the first round to Romero as well?