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BOTTER: It's a little of both, I think. Folks who are routinely selected as judges could do with a little more training in what mixed martial arts actually is. And by "a little more training," I mean "hundreds and hundreds of hours of training," because whatever classes they've gone through thus far haven't really helped.
But the 10-9 system is not fine. It doesn't tell you who won a fight as a whole; instead, it tells you who won more rounds, which isn't a good way of determining who is better at fighting. If judges felt free to use the current system in a nuanced manner—with 10-10, 10-8 and 10-7 scores liberally used instead of being the rarities they are—the current system can work.
But what we currently have is not a good way of scoring a mixed martial arts fight.
DUNDAS: The 10-point must system is a blunt, clumsy instrument for scoring the diverse action we often see in MMA. Compounding that is the fact the scoring criteria themselves are fairly terribly written. Seriously, go read them, it’ll scare the crap out of you.
Once you add the reality that judges—despite now having little video screens—are human beings who view fights from different angles, with thousands of people screaming around them and occasionally (it seems) without the benefit of good sense, you can end up with varying interpretations of what just happened.
It would take a comprehensive, top-down overhaul to eradicate all that, and I support it, but it won’t be easy and it likely won’t happen overnight.
SNOWDEN: I'm not sure what makes a mixed martial arts fight different than a boxing match, at least in terms of scoring. And there, whether in four-, eight- or 12-round fights, they've made do with the 10-9 must system for decades.
I'm also wary of using 10-8 and 10-7 rounds with regularity. After all, how many judges would fall into the Joe Rogan camp of believing a fighter was "OMG HURT!" every time their opponent so much as breathed on them.
I'm not opposed to other solutions, like the old Pride rules that asked judges to simply pick a winner when it was all said and done. But, be advised, that didn't eliminate controversy or ridiculous decisions. Sometimes, rather, it seemed to exacerbate them.
With the 10-9 must system, at least, the judges have to show their work.