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Judging criteria parties like it’s 1999


I knew there was a reason I was on Big John’s nuts. This is like a definitive account of why MMA judging is screwed up:

The current judging standards now are the same ones that Jeff Blatnick and I put in place before UFC 22. Well the sport’s evolved a lot and even back then when we put that in we had put certain things that we had to take out beacuse there was a lot of political pressure against the sport at the time and the owner of it – one of the things we had was damage, the amount of damage one fighter does to another was an important aspect of it – and he absolutely took it out he said “I can’t do that, we have enough problems and you want us in writing to say the thing the judges are looking for is damage?”

So there’s things that need to come about, there needs to be a change even in the criteria. Right now we have effective striking, effective grappling, effective aggressiveness and then ring or cage control. Those are the elements the judge is supposed to look at and grade the fighters and base his opinions on those elements and there are some things that need to be changed. Damage is one of those things.

But it can’t just be damage and a lot of times when we talk about damage people get the idea of the way a guy is lumped up … well that means striking. And there has to also be the damage that submissions do. Because with MMA there are so many elements of it. We don’t wanna be telling the fighter how they have to fight. That would wreck the sport and it’s wrong.

And that’s what a lot of the judges are actually kinda doing by the way they’re judging fights  now is they’re not giving a credit to certain things. They’re giving a lot of credits to takedowns when the takedown doesn’t lead to anything. Or they’re giving credit to a guy who’s punching but is actually having to defend most of the time to a guy who is doing submissions.

After the jump: Big John explains chickenshit judging and how half points might fix the situation.


The half point itself is important especially when you get into three round fights. The big problem with the 10 point must system – most judges don’t wanna give an 8 point round to somebody. And a fighter can do something they can work very hard and deserve it but the judge will be reserved because he doesn’t want to take away what he thinks is the other person’s ability to even come back and win this fight. “If I give that 8 point round then I’m basically taking away this other fighter’s chance of winning” … which is not the way they should look at it. You should judge the round for what the guy deserves, he deserves an 8 he gets an 8, he deserves a 9 he gets a nine, deserves a 10 he gets a 10.

But that half point system, that will help with a lot of fights. Because there’s ones where you have rounds that are very very close and you gotta give 10 to the winner and 9 to the loser when really a 9.5 would kinda characterize the round more for what it was it was a close round and then you got the ones where it was clear, it’s 10 and 9 it was clear he got beat pretty good in the round.

  • Tanhauser

    It’s too bad a guy who has done so much for the sport (Dana White) is shutting him out of the conversation so much.

  • P W

    I still don’t think Big John’s suggestions are getting to the core of what’s wrong with the judging. However, I haven’t decided if he’s a coward, an idiot, or simply realistic for doing so.

  • Omomatta

    I get as irritated as the next guy with bullshit decisions, but I can’t foresee the judging changing at all and am honestly getting bored with reading fifty thousand articles discussing points systems. It’s fucking pointless.

    Why don’t they just have the viewers text in the results between rounds like American Fucking Idol. There, that was just as ridiculous of an idea.