Fixing Flaws in Scoring Fights

Fixing Flaws in Scoring Fights

There is a saying that Mixed Martial Artists live and die by for each fight: Don’t leave it in the judge’s hands. When you finish an opponent, you leave no doubt who the winner is. When a fight goes to decision, the outcome is no longer in your hands. The year is still young, and the UFC already has two controversial outcomes decided by judges’ score cards. One fight was for a shot at the Middleweight Championship, the other was for the interim Welterweight Championship. This puts even more importance on who won these fights.

Now, obviously there are flaws in the system. Adopted from boxing’s 10-Point Must System, MMA bouts are scored based on effective striking, grappling, aggression, and octagon control. The first flaw I can see in the 10-Point Must System is that each of those points are subjective. Does a counter striker who sticks and moves lose a round to the more aggressive, walk-forward fighter, even if he lands more strikes? What if a fighter lands strikes throughout the round, but gets taken down twice within the same round? Who do you give the 10-points to?

Boxing and MMA are two totally different sports, so they should have different systems in place for scoring a fight. In Pride, there was no scoring. A decision was based on the fight as a whole. Each judge would hold up a card with who they felt won the fight overall. Emphasis place on who came closer to finishing the fight. The problem with this is that it’s even more subjective then the 10-Point Must System. What if one fighter was getting beat up most of the fight, but in the last two minutes almost pulls off a submission win. Do you award him the fight because he came closer to finishing the fight?

My answer to scoring fights uses ideas from both the Pride way of judging a fight, and the 10-Point Must System. I would score each round based on who was closer to finishing the fight. But the winner of the round has to earn those 10 points. If the he fought the perfect round, he gets 10 points. If the round was back and forth, maybe he gets 8 points and his opponent gets 6 points. So if there was a close round followed by a dominant round, and then an even round… the score could be 9-8, 8-10, 9-9. Making the final score 27-26. So the one fighter won a close opening round, but got dominated in the second round, then they fought an even final round. A more accurate portrayal of what goes on during a fight and if the judging is based on who comes closer to finishing the fight, then fighters will become less likely to lay’n’pray or stall and clinch against the cage.

As for the fights I mentioned earlier, I disagreed with the judges and felt that Micheal Bisping won his fight over Chael Sonnen, but I agreed with the judges on the Carolos Condit/Nick Diaz fight and believed the right man, in Condit, was awarded the interim Welterweight Championship.

Do you agree or disagree with my scoring system or the outcome of the fights? Join the debate and tweet me at