Dallas Winston: The discontent regarding judging controversy in MMA is snowballing. Please lend your opinion on the overall state of MMA judging?
Marc Ratner: Judging needs to become more consistent. This is still a new sport and its going to take time. We are monitoring the scores of the judges to see who are doing the most consistent jobs.
DW: What specific areas do you feel need improvement?
MR: The toughest part of judging is the grappling and the ground game. Judges have to concentrate and know what they are looking at. In some parts of the country the judges don’t get enough work to become consistent. There also is a need for more workshops and seminars.
DW: The measurements in the unified rules for grappling are very tangible and identifiable, where the striking elements seem to be more open to personal opinion. Any thoughts on that observation?
MR: The way I look at it is usually with striking -- and maybe this is from my boxing background -- but you can tell who's hurting the other guy. In the Machida fight there was more kicking that perhaps wasn't taken into consideration.
I'm not talking only about the UFC, but there's a lot a guy can do from the guard, and that's why a background in grappling and Jiu Jitsu is important; to make sure you don't overlook the efforts of the fighter on the bottom.
DW: Do you feel that takedowns being counted for effective grappling (one-half of top criteria), control (secondary criteria), and effective aggression (second to last) give the technique a lopsided value in the scoring guidelines?
MR: Takedowns do show an element of control, but you have to advance your position once you’ve attained the takedown. I personally look for effective aggression when watching the fights.
DW: The use of monitors is another common suggestion. Even though we've only had Doc Hamilton state on one occasion that his view was obstructed in a fight (Shogun vs. Machida 1) and the arenas have the big screens overhead, it definitely wouldn't hurt accuracy and/or consistency. Your thoughts?
MR: Actually we've used them for the last three events in California. We're still experimenting with that. I don't want them to only look at the monitor, because that only gets you one view, but certainly when your view is obstructed they might be valuable. Whether it's a cameraman, the ref, or a corner-post, there are several things that can obstruct the judges' line of sight.
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