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It’s the judges, not the scoring system

As usually happens after a controversial decision in a big fight, we’ve got several people banging the drum for changes to the judging system in MMA. Here’s Ben Fowlkes’ take:

There’s no such thing as a near submission in boxing. There are no takedowns that only result in a man getting right back to his feet, there is no meaningful equivalent to controlling a man in a dominant position on the mat. So how can judges possibly be expected to make MMA action fit into a boxing framework on their scorecards?

The outcome of the UFC 86 main event may not have changed, even without the 10-point must system. And any time a fight goes to the judges, we have to be prepared for the inevitable subjectivity that could potentially ruin the day.

Still, the numbers should make us stop and think. MMA needs its own scoring system tailored to fit the specific demands of the sport. It shouldn’t be satisfied to borrow one from boxing, just like it shouldn’t be content to borrow their judges.

I’m in agreeance that the judging system in MMA is broken, but I disagree partially with Ben’s reasons for why. While MMA is using the 10 point system popularized in boxing, it’s not really the 10 point system that’s the problem. When you boil the ten point system down, it’s just “The fighter who wins the round gets 1 or 2 points and the fighter that loses gets 0.” It really doesn’t get simpler to that, which is why I’m horrified that anyone would want to change to a different kind of scoring set. If these fucking judges can’t even get the 10 point must system right, what would happen if they were expected to identify and assign scores for submissions, takedowns and various other stuff?

The real problem is with the judges themselves, and yes: it is VERY retarded that we have boxing judges working at MMA events. Why not have ping pong refs work Wimbledon? Or NHL staff scoring figure skating? For every similarity between the two sports, there are 50 differences. So why the hell is this allowed to continue?

Well, the reason is pretty simple: the judging is run by the athletic commissions, and the athletic commissions are run by the government. And just like nearly every other government organization out there, there’s zero fucking accountability when someone does an obviously shit job. And shit jobs in judging happen at nearly every event, even if it’s overlooked most of the time because the right fighter still ends up winning most of the time (look back at the scorecards for Koscheck / Lytle if you need proof of that).

So long story short, we’re pretty screwed … unless someone out there with a sniper rifle starts shooting judges who fuck up big fights. Not like I’m suggesting anything here. I’m just saying IT’S THE ONLY WAY things might change.