Kansas Experimenting With Open Scoring In MMA

MMA UFC

In what is fitting timing, the Kansas Athletic Commission (KAC) will be experimenting with real-time open scoring in mixed martial arts (MMA) fights.

As per ESPN, the KAC will offer that option to MMA promoters starting March 1 which would see fighters, their corners, the broadcast team and fans know the scores of the judges after each round. Currently, the system in place is such that the scores are only revealed after the fight is completed.

Invicta FC will be the first MMA promotion to make use of it for its March 6 card in Kansas City. However, the use of real-time open scoring is flexible. For example, it can be used for only certain fights, all fights or doesn’t have to be used at all.

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“If we can help in some way to push the sport forward in a positive direction, that’s what we’re about — we’ll try,” Invicta promoter Shannon Knapp told ESPN.

The move comes following the recent judging controversies at UFC 247 this past weekend in Houston, Texas. Dominick Reyes, who competed in the main event and believed he won the fight convincingly only to lose via unanimous decision, recently told Ariel Helwani that he would be open to a real-time scoring system.

“In all honesty, I would,” Reyes said. “Yeah. Just yes.”

Many others have also called for an overhaul to the current system such as former featherweight champion Max Holloway who welcomed the KAC’s new initiative.

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“I come from outside of the combat sports world,” Kansas boxing commissioner Adam Roorbach said. “But I’ve been a sports fan my whole life. It always mystifies me why the fighters and fans don’t know what the score is until the end. No one has ever given me a good explanation as to why.”

Of course, most UFC events don’t take place in Kansas, but rather Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN he wasn’t open to the idea as it could affect fighter performance.

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“I can assure you that the Nevada State Athletic Commission is flexible, adaptable and open to new ideas,” Bennett said. “But this is not something that you just change overnight. This is something you sit down and methodically and logically talk about. Does this idea have in mind the health and safety of fighters and best interests of the sport?”

Maybe if open scoring is received well in Kansas MMA events, it could be something we potentially see being used throughout the sport.

Do you like the idea?