UFC: Is It Time for the Penalty Card System?

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst IDecember 6, 2009

As always, the conclusion of another UFC event has brought with it a number of things that the fans and the media are going to complain about.

Some people were upset with a few minor difficulties that occurred throughout the program, others were upset with Steve Mazzagatti's disqualification call on Jon "Bones" Jones, and in continuance of the latest UFC trend, the judges were blamed for yet another foul call.

However, as the boo birds began to sing their obnoxious song during the Kimbo Slice and Houston Alexander fight, a less spoken, yet familiar complaint has taken form.

How would a penalty card system work within the UFC?

For those who are unfamiliar with the penalty card system within the MMA realm, it is simply used to keep the fight at an exciting pace with no lull in the action.

If the referee deems one (or both) of the fighters to be delaying the action, then a yellow card would be given, resulting in a 10 percent deduction of their overall earnings from the fight.

Although rare, a red card can also be given for an illegal strike, resulting in the usual 10 percent deduction of their purse, as well as subtracting a point from their overall score.

With a fighter's money on the line, the fans will see less fights that are lacking in action, such as Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander, Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes, Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn, etc.

The penalty card would easily up the pace of any fight, but the catch-22 of the system is that it does take money away from the fighters.

These are the same fighters that spend most of their free time training for their fights with no job or supplemental income to support themselves, other than the scraps they get from their sponsors.

Unless they are a marquee name like; Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Brock Lesnar, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, etc., a lot of fighters would suffer from the penalty card system.

Another downfall of the penalty card would be that the referee would have to interfere with the fight. Even though the card is used to induce action, it's difficult to tell if one of the fighters was on the verge of engaging their target.

If the system was used only when necessary, the fights would be a good mix of strategic planning and fast-pace action. The more excitement and buzz generated in a fight usually leads to bigger contracts and endorsements.

The question is, do the negative effects outweigh the positive ones?