Manager Alex Davis serves a long list of fighters, and sometimes serves as the conscience of the sport. The founding manager of ATT and lifelong Judoka regularly pens a must-read column for MMAjunkie, and in his latest, he offers an intriguing suggestion.
The industry always prioritizes fighters who have the best-looking record on paper. At the same time, everyone who watches the sport wants to see exciting fights. But the way we measure fights relies mostly on wins or losses, with little attention to how those fights actually played out.
The way it stands, you can have a guy with a 20-0 record who won all of those fights by stalling and not taking any risks, while you can have another fighter that’s 10-10 who consistently put on amazing fights, took risks, let it all hang out and made the crowd chew on their nails. But at the end of the day, the guy who earned those 20 wins stalling will have more value. What we are doing, in reality, is statistically punishing the kind of fighter who’s willing to take risks, which in truth is the fighter that we really want to see.
To help change this, I would like to propose a simple grading system for fights.
There’s no need for it to be complicated. I would suggest a simple arrangement with which fights are rated between 1 and 4. A grade 1 fight is an absolute sleeper. A grade 2 fight is an average fight. A grade 3 fight is a good fight, and a grade 4 fight is an amazing fight. It’s that simple, and collecting this would be a really easy thing to do: All that needs to happen is the judges not only score the fight and who won, but also grade the fight based on how interesting, exciting and technical that fight was.
This system would not mean a lot of additional work or time commitment in any sense by any of the different parties that score or record fights. It’s actually almost too simple and easy for any of the complete nincompoops out there to mess up!
Adopting this system will help to give value to fighters who consistently go out there and take risks. Sure, wins and losses still matter, but this will provide a way to identify fighters who know how to entertain the fans and will reward the kind of fighter that goes out there and puts on amazing fights.