California will experiment with a new points system for amateur mixed martial arts bouts beginning in 2011, a move that could lead to significant changes in judging at the professional level. The test will be conducted by the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization in conjunction with the California State Athletic Commission.
Fights will be scored under both standards, said Jeremy Lappen, CEO of CAMO, with the intent of delivering "comparative data" that regulators can use to determine whether or not the trial system -- Mixed Martial Arts Specific Scoring (MMAS) -- should eventually apply to the pros.
"We've used CAMO as a way of going about training officials," said CSAC executive officer George Dodd, "and this is the perfect place to test a half-point system because we can regulate it and evaluate how this system is working prior to us implementing or not implementing the program" for professionals (which would require a regulatory change).
The system, which includes using half points as well as putting increased emphasis on damage, striking and grappling, was developed by Nelson "Doc" Hamilton, a licensed judge and referee and one of the foremost authorities on MMA and regulatory issues.
Hamilton proposes a scoring system based on breaking the scoring down to half-points, where a close round, a solid win, a dominant win and having the opponent on the verge of defeat could all be differentiated.
Under this system, if a fighter wins a round that’s difficult to call, it gets scored 10-9.5. When it’s clear that one fighter won the round, it’s 10-9. When a fighter dominates the round but doesn’t have his opponent in bad shape during the round, or if a fighter does major damage but the opponent gets a degree of offense in, that would be a 10-8.5. A 10-8 round or lower would be similar to how things are scored today.
“To a man, every judge I’ve spoken with favors this system,” Hamilton said. “The problem is you will start getting arguments about a 10-9 vs. a 10-8.5. Do we then go to quarter-points, or go like gymnastics with tenths of a point,” said Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Without question, this system will lead to more debates about scorecards from fans, but it could fine-tune final scores, to the point that the judges’ scores aren’t at odds with the person they feel won the fight.
For further details Hamilton's system, click here.