Let's Talk MMA Judging

Chris IodiceContributor INovember 28, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida (R) battles with UFC Light Heavyweight challenger Mauricio Rua (L) during their title fight at UFC 104 at Staples Center on October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

In the UFC's last three promotions we have seen three main events go to decision.  I believe most promotions would prefer their main events end by some kind of indisputable stoppage but, all out wars are also entertaining.  That issue is neither here nor there, what I would like to discuss is the judging that decides which warrior walks out the victor.

Their has been a lot of speculation about the judging for the Machida vs. Shogun, Randy vs. Vera and Tito vs. Griffin fights.  I decided to watch each of these fights a second or even third time to decide who I think the winner was.  Not to mention that consuming Miller Lite while watching these fights at our local sports bar with my training partners tends to disrupt my judgement.

The judging criteria is based on four different areas:

-Clean Strikes
-Effective Grappling
-Octagon Control
-Effective Aggressiveness

These three bouts have already been analyzed and discussed so I am just speaking in general.  Fighters either land more efficient strikes or more effective strikes. 

- Personally I think that judges in the past have not considered leg kicks "effective" strikes.  I think if one fighter kicks the other in the leg 50 times that should be weighed pretty heavily.  Leg kicks hurt, bad.  At the same time though some fighters can take a lot of hits and devastate opponents with a few good shots that might cut them or leave them dazed.

-Effective grappling is probably where most fights are won.  Takedown an oppenent several times in a fight and you will score points.  However; if the oppenent defends the takedown or continuously reverses after a take down then they will score points.

-Octagon control is where things tend to get muddy.  Each fighter prefers certain styles of fighting.  Pressure fighters can score a lot of points by dictating the pace and stalking their opponent.  Counter fighters can also score points by evading their opponent and landing quick strikes.  Conflict in styles can lead to uneventful fights which then leads to difficulty in the judging.  Another way to effectively score octagon control points is by taking an opponent down and landing clean effective strikes.  Following a take down or pressing someone up against the cage one must land clean strikes in order to sway the judges.

-Finally tie it all together with effective agression.  Simply land strikes, execute takedowns and look good doing it.  When someone puts pressure on their oppenent they should not absorb too much punishment.  They should also not throw wild strikes that never land.  Keep it tight and be fluid.

Every sport will always have controversy in officiating and judging.  The only way to fix the problem would be to have machines do everything and that would lead to boring outcomes.  As sports fans we have to take the good with the bad.  Simply to keep things exciting and give everyone something to talk about.  However; officials and judges should always strive to do their best in order to maintain fairness. 

Changes need to be made from time to time so we do not have issues like we have had recently.  Something should be done inregards to MMA judging even though it will never be a perfect system.