Every time a close fight goes to the judges’ score cards, I’m left with that uneasy feeling in my gut. The feeling that I’m about to be disappointed. Most people I run into during a fight may have a favorite to win, but they also try to judge the fights without bias as the play out. Rarely is there 町田 ダンススクール squabbling among the patrons as to who won in the end. Too often the results are read, you hear that simultaneous uproar of boos and everyone at the bar wants to throw their beers at the screen. Now why is that?? How can the 50-60 people I’m standing with be in almost total agreement, and yet the professionals paid for their opinions render the opposite decision. We all watched the same fight and they go over the scoring system at the beginning of every event. Is all this entirely the judges fault or are there other factors?? I’ll tell you what I think, but here’s how it started…
The old ways of Pride and the early UFC weren’t palatable to the mainstream who knew little to nothing about what they were trying to do or just didn’t care. Dealing with athletic commissions on where to hold the venues eventually lead politicians to see it as a means of grand standing against the brutality of it. This put the MMA organizations against the people who represent the public and you can’t go to war with the ones you are trying to win over. The bottom line, the old ways needed to change to make MMA marketable. So what did the athletic commissions do?? They adopted the closest model that worked, boxing’s ten point must system and weight classes. Here’s a couple of the problems with what that created;
1) There are only 3 or 5 rounds, not the traditional 10 or 12 rounds of boxing that a 10 point must system does work in.
2) Judges are bad. No two ways around it, there are some awful judges that don’t have consequences for their bad judgments, not to name names, except Cecil Peoples. Some judge takedowns too strong vs striking. I think it stems from a lack of unified structure for scoring. There is too much interpretation that is generally misinterpreted by men that, I think must not follow the sport.
3) State Athletic Commission’s are like any other state agencies and are slow as hell. They haven’t had to change, they have been regulating queensberry rules of boxing that are almost 150 years old. MMA isn’t just boxing or wrestling or jiu-jitsu or muay thai, its everything and shouldn’t be judged with bias to one discipline.
The current system is flawed… Matt Hamill VS Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin VS Tito Ortiz 1 and Shogun VS Lyoto Machida are just a few of the fights generating thousands of letters asking for change in the system.
How to begin to fix it…
1) MMAS, mix martial arts scoring systems as opposed to the TPM (ten point must) system that is currently in place. From what I’ve read MMAS scores offensive and defensive moves quantitatively as opposed to the “who is more dominant” criteria of the TPM system. MMAS counts the offensive and defensive moves in standing, grappling and on the ground. Now… I haven’t seen it in place, but from what I’ve read about it sounds great, or at least a good start.
2) Much needed adjustment to State Athletic Commissions that are as nimble as an elephant on roller skates. Today’s structure of MMA is fairly new, it’s all that much more important to get things right now before rules are even harder to adjust.
3) I’ve even heard of people advocating for letting the scores of each round be known to the public and the fighters before the next round starts. But others worry about fighters not trying if they have the fight locked up after a few winning rounds.
The worst part of this whole thing is that there are lots of fighters and trainers in the game that live and die by the way this game is set up. This is their livelihood. The longer this is the established system the harder it is to change. There needs to be a unified system across state lines, across country lines. The UFC and other organizations aren’t contained in one area and the rules can’t change for these guys because the venue does. That’s like changing the rules to soccer every time a country has an away game. The only people up in arms about it, are the fans and fighters. The people in charge aren’t taking notice like they should. Dana White has said himself in press conferences that the current scoring system needs to be changed, but talk is cheap. He needs to stop being complacent and acting as if he has no sway on the situation, and the Athletic Commissions need to pull their heads out of the sand and look around, or pass the baton to people who actually care about the sport.