September 27, 2009

How do MMA Judges score the fights?

Sample Athletic Commission ScorecardBy Katrina Belcher

Recently there's been some controversy on whether or not MMA judges are doing their job properly or well. To the casual observer, it may not appear so, but then not everyone knows or understands the MMA Unified Rules of Conduct used by these judges to score each bout.

To help fans and weekend warriors alike, the following details how MMA judges, in most states, decide which combatant is the winner of a fight.

At most MMA fight events the head referee will meet in the locker room with the fighters and their corner men before the fight. This is called a "Rules Meeting." The purpose of the Rules Meeting is to review the rules as they apply to that state, to make sure everyone is aware of what to expect; what fouls are considered illegal; how the bouts will be scored and so on.

It is understood that in most cases, especially if the MMA fighter competing at an event is a professional, they will know most of these rules beforehand. This means that before they go into a fight, the competitors pretty much know what techniques they're being scored on, and why.

In most states, there are usually three judges used to evaluate each fight. Judges use the following criteria to judge pro-MMA fights.

Validation of Results - 10-Point Must System: Judges use the 10-Point Must System; it serves as the standard system of scoring a bout. (This is perhaps the most mis-understood and/or maligned part of judging in MMA today.)

The 10-Point Must System is the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round and nine points or less must be awarded to the loser, except for a rare even round, which is scored (10-10).

Officials use the following techniques to evaluate each fight: ...the variety of mixed martial arts techniques used by the fighters, such as effective striking, effective grappling (as in take downs), control of the fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense (as in sprawling and resisting take downs.)

Judges evaluate each fight on the following: ...in the order in which the techniques appear in the techniques described above, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.

Striking is judged and determined effective based on the following: ...by determining the total number of legal heavy strikes landed by a contestant.

Grappling is judged effective based on the following: ...by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active, threatening guard.

The following determines control of the fighting area and how this is pertinent to the results of the fight: Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking; taking down an opponent to force a ground fight; creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities.

Score cards and recording results.
The following prescribed method of recording results of a competition, including the handling and procedures associated with official score cards, are usually followed:
  • The judges score each round and the winner of each receives ten points, the loser nine points or less.

  • If the round is even, both fighters receive ten points.

  • In some states, the fewest points a fighter can receive is 7, and in other states by custom, no fighter receives less than 7.

  • Decision via score cards:
    • Unanimous: When all three judges score the bout for the same contestant;

    • Split Decision: When two judges score the bout for one contestant and one judge scores for the opponent; or

    • Majority Decision: When two judges score the bout for the same contestant and one judge scores a draw.

  • Draws:
    • Unanimous – When all three judges score the bout a draw;

    • Majority – When two judges score the bout a draw; or

    • Split – When all three judges score differently and the score total results in a draw.

Scoring Criteria
The following 4 (four) objective scoring criteria are usually utilized by the judges when scoring a round:
  • A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows clear dominance in a round;

  • A round is to be scored as a 10-9 Round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, grappling and other maneuvers;

  • A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant overwhelmingly dominates by striking or grappling in a round.

  • A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant totally dominates by striking or grappling in a round.

The sliding scale and each substandard is used by the judges to ascertain the length of time fighters are either standing or on the ground.

If the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round on the canvas, then the following should apply:
  • Effective grappling is weighed first; and

  • Effective striking is then weighed.

If the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round standing, then the following should apply:
  • Effective striking is weighed first; and

  • Effective grappling is then weighed.

If a round ends with a relatively even amount of standing and canvas fighting, striking and grappling are weighed equally.

Some examples of those techniques which could give the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense are: mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.

Evaluations should be made in the order in which the techniques appear per the above, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.

Effective striking is judged by determining the total number of legal heavy strikes landed by a contestant.

Some factors one must consider to judge effective grappling during a fight: Effective grappling is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active, threatening guard.

Factors to consider when judging control of a fighting area: Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking; taking down an opponent to force a ground fight; creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities.

The following is an example of effective aggressiveness during a fight: Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike.

The following examples show effective defenses during a fight: Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.

To find out more: Learn more about the MMA Unified Rules of Conduct by ordering your own copy of the MMA Rules and Regulations Handbook here The Only MMA Referee Handbook guide.

3 comments:

  1. a defending champion should be judged on how well they defend the title. If it goes to a decision then the defending champion unless otherwise dominated the whole fight should retain his belt. The challenger wasent good enough to beat the defending champion

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  2. What you're suggesting shows an ignorance of the rules. What does "otherwise dominated the whole fight" mean? Does that mean the challenger had to score all 10-8 rounds?

    When a title fight goes to a decision, then the winner of the decision is the champion. If the decision is a draw then the champion retains his title, as was the case with Edgar vs. Maynard.

    ReplyDelete
  3. try this http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/mmascore/id468849692?mt=8

    ReplyDelete

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