Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How Mixed Martial Arts Needs to Change its Scoring System

So I've been an avid Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fan for a couple of years now. This includes Pride, Strickforce, UFC, Bellatore, and any other mixed martial arts league. Sometimes, fights will end up going to a judge's decision. Whenever this happens....there is an outrage of how the judges blew the fight for the person that lost. It is in my personal opinion that this will happen no matter what. It's risk that fighters take when they let the fight end like this.

However, like any sport, there is room for error when it comes to the judges making their decision. While I don't have a problem with people voicing their opinions with what is wrong with the judging system, I DO have a problem when said person doesn't have a valid suggestion for fixing the system. Judging in sports is never an exact science, and since the judges are human of course there will be mistakes.

I believe introducing a scoring system that has several methods for grading what happens in the ring. Cory Schafer and Nelson Hamilton have proposed a new scoring system to the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) for their review, and hopefully approval. They named it "Mixed Martial Arts Specific Scoring," or MASS for short. This new system consists of four changes to the traditional 10 point system that is still being used.

Here is a quick overview that is published in this month's issue of "Ultimate MMA" magazine. There is also more in depth description here:

Change Number 1:
All rounds will be scored as follows:
A. 10-10 =Even round
B. 10-9.4 = Marginal advantage
C. 10-9.0 = Clear advantage
D. 10-8.5 = Dominant advantage
E. 10-8.0 = Overwhelming advantage

Although scores of 10-7.5 and 10-7.0 are possible, if the fight gets scored as this a fight this one-sided is usually ended by referee's stoppage by TKO.

Change Number 2:
Scores are based on the following criteria, listed in descending order of importance.
1. Damage inflicted
2. Effective striking and/or effective grappling
3. Cage (Octagon) control

Change Number 3:
When the referee determines that a near submission is in effect, he will signal this to the judges by raising his arm overhead until there is a tap out or until the submission is terminated. When scoring, judges should consider a near submission as effective grappling, and quite possibly, damage inflicted.

Change Number 4:
For the purpose of resolving draws, in addition to the three judges coring each bout, there is a designated fourth judge, the Table Judge. Table judges do not score the bout. Their sole responsibility is to tabulate all technical scores. Technical score totals are used to resolve all draws.

While this new system is still open to speculation, I feel that the creators are on the right path to correcting the current means of scoring fights. There is nothing wrong with the judges that still use the current scoring system, but in my personal opinion the flaws reside in the actual system. The system was designed years ago before the sport had a chance to evolve into what we have today. As with any other sport or office policy, revisions are necessary over time to keep up with the times and changes in the sport.

No comments:

Post a Comment