Judging in MMA can be very tough. Considering MMA is a combination of several combat sports it’s very hard to call it when it’s not just about number of strikes exchanged.
This has led to a number of controversial calls over the years. As of recent, Ariel Helwani has been lobbying for Open scoring. Open scoring would mean the judges scorecards results would be shared with the athletes and the audience as the event progresses.
Invicta is one of the rare few promotions that utilizes these changes and they mostly seem pleased with them. The argument against is mostly that that would leave the fighter who is ahead to have less initiative and that it may lead to more scorecard victories as opposed to finishes. The jury is still out on that one.
UFC commentary team is also often confused about the finesses of judging criteria – this is why Joe Rogan’s ideas to fix judging are an interesting topic.
“Maybe there’s a way to score it like you would give points for moments in fights where someone either did damage or someone had control, but control was not worth as much as damage,” Rogan said.
“Because you can survive control unscathed. Just because someone has you down maybe in half-guard, and you’re just clinching and controlling, you can survive that for a couple minutes sometimes, and nothing happens.”
” Even though the person’s in control of you, it’s not that big of a deal. But then damage: How much more is damage worth? Like if you see the person gets wobbled or you see like a big, impactful kick, you’re like, ‘Wow, that was a significant moment in the fight. So that would be worth more.’”
The criteria is being constantly tweaked. When people were discussing Sterling Petr Yan II, some interesting changes came to light.
There was a change to the criteria last year and damage is now the most important component in scoring a 10-8 round. Even if there’s dominance and duration.