Joe Rogan: Current MMA judging system is 'ridiculous'


BloodyElbow's Stephie Daniels does an in-depth interview each year with Joe Rogan. This one comes in at a staggering 10,000 words or so, and is organized into three parts. Today, in part III, Rogan discusses the UFC travel schedule, his hit SyFy show, traditional martial arts techniques in MMA, UFC weight classes, commentator favorites, genetically amodified athletes, and what is wrong with MMA judging.

Stephie Daniels: ..what did you think of the Machida vs. Davis fight?

Joe Rogan: Yeah, I saw it. I was surprised by the decision, quite honestly. I thought Machida won, but I thought it was a close fight, and when you're dealing with takedowns... Machida stuffed a lot of takedowns, but he did get taken down a couple of times. Some people score takedowns very highly. People say, ‘Oh it was a robbery.' I think the real issues are we need to define what the parameters are for success in the Octagon. Is it successful when a guy takes you down once, or is it more successful when you stuff ten takedown attempts and punch the guy in the face?

There was a similar situation recently where Danny Castillo took Tim Means down, and a lot of people thought that he didn't do enough damage after the takedown, and that Tim Means done more damage standing up and should have got the decision because of that.

In my opinion, instead of people concentrating on, ‘oh that's a robbery, it's bullshit.' We need to define what success is. What is more important? Is it more important to land a really hard punch, or for a guy to take you down and do nothing? It's a very important question, and I don't think it's one that has been clearly defined to the judges, especially the judges who don't have a background in martial arts. It's a real issue in MMA, and I have been very vocal about my feelings. I think there are a huge amount of fans out there who are massive, massive martial arts fanatics and they would make incredible judges. I think a lot of people feel it would be an honor to have that position, but there are a lot of people who are judges now, and to them it's just a job, it's just a gig.

I can't hate, we've all had jobs, and I don't fault them. I fault whoever gave them that job. I think that in order to be a judge in mixed martial arts at the highest level, I feel like you have to have some deep background in martial arts. You have to have been hit in the face. You have to have been strangled. You have to have been arm barred. You have to know what it feels like. You have to know what is a danger and what's not. There are certain scenarios a person can get put into where they're not in danger, but to a person who is uneducated in martial arts it might look like they are, and that can f--- up scoring.

We have a problem, and that problem is pretty deep. First of all, judging is on a ten point must system, which is completely stolen from boxing. The system that we have in place right now is ridiculous. Doc Hamilton had a really interesting fix to that system, which was a half point system, which I like better. I think Doc is a very wise man, and he's also a long time martial artist. He's been involved in martial arts since I was a baby, probably even before then. I respect guys like that who have been around for a long time. He has an educated take on the current situation that I think should be respected. I think the scoring system needs to be revised, and the way we decide to score things needs to be better defined.

Read entire interview...
Read part 2...
Read part 1..

Related MMA gear from the UG Store


Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Elevation Training Mask 2.0

Only $79.99

UFC Elite Series MMA Training Gloves

UFC Elite Series MMA Training Gloves

$89.99 $62.99


tags: UFC   Joe Rogan   

Get the MMA Underground app. for iPhone and Andriod devices.
iPhone Application Andriod MMA Underground Application

Recent Comments »

MattyECB site profile image  

9/6/13 12:10 PM by MattyECB

A lot of people don't realize it, but this issue was laid to rest a year ago. It's just that the judges don't actually read AC criteria so it's still uneven as hell. (Taken from a BE article, )"Second, the ABC has decided on a few revisions to the current MMA judging criteria:1.) Effective Defense removed as a criteria...Removal of effective defense: ...2. Defense is its own reward. A fighter who chooses to avoid using defensive actions will invariably suffer the consequences. For example if a fighter decides that they do not want to block or avoid a strike, protect themselves from a submission, *********or avoid a throw or takedown***** then they will suffer the results of those offensive actions being used against them. The only role defensive action plays is to keep a fighter in the fight longer so that they can attempt to score using offensive actions."However, when you look at sweeps and attacks from the bottom, those count as offensive, not defensive, actions in the effective grappling criteria. So a guy getting taken down, throwing up subs then sweeping isn't only defending himself, he's outpacing the other. For some reason though, judges can't understand top position is only points in the cage/ring control, and maybe small points for effective grappling by TD and top-control. If nothing else happens, there's zero reason, imo, why the bottom guy outpacing (like we see w/ Mousasi or Diaz very often) shouldn't be winning on effective striking (Moussasi elbowed the fuck outta Lawal), effective grappling or effective aggression (all of which, outlined below, include actions from the bottom!)"1.) "Effective Striking" - Heavier strikes that have a visible impact on the opponent will be given more weight than the number of strikes landed.2.) "Effective Grappling" - judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown, reversals and submission attempts.3.) "Effective Aggression" - moving forward scoring with a legal technique or attacking from the guard with threatening submissions.4.) "Cage/Ring Control" - dictating the pace, place and position of the fight."^^It's like in 2), the only obvious part, legal TDs, is the only thing anyone cares about. I mean if its a gorgeous trip or deep double leg fine, give it a little muster, but I hate seeing a dude get 1/13 TDs, get reversed then win the round lolNot to mention by 4)'s definition, pulling-guard by itself should in NO WAY be a negative. You've dictated the pace, place and position of the fight, you've, in the case of many BJJ-specialists, pulled off an aggressive maneuver to finish (subs), and the other guy hasn't succeeded in a TD or any offensive maneuver. Never the less, a dude pulls guard and doesn't submit his opponent, he's 100% losing that round even if the top guy does nothing. Fuck, when you see some guys pull-guard purposely just to sweep into top-position, I swear to God judges look at that as a negative if my OCD score-checking at the end of fights has showed me anything lol

MattyECB site profile image  

9/6/13 11:46 AM by MattyECB

Ya, that's exactly what I'm saying. Because they think they have to pick a winner they give rounds to someone even without a just cause and since 10-8s don't have a clear definition like in boxing (where it's based off KDs), you end up with absolutely even rounds counting the same as brutal beatings with a 10-9...You're definitely right this is only a small part of the issue, but it blows my mind how they can't even get their current system in order, and they already want to switch systems.

Donoghue88 site profile image  

9/6/13 9:21 AM by Donoghue88

Rogan would talk a hungry lion to sleep

JunkieDog site profile image  

9/6/13 9:16 AM by JunkieDog

This, exactly. (I think?)To clarify.... saying they HAD to pick a winner, therefore giving Rampage two rounds that were most likely a tie, differs from saying they need to simply follow the actual rules.They don't HAVE to pick a winner... they only have to award 10 points to at least one of the fighters. Either way, handing out more 10-10 rounds when no fighter had a clear advantage, would solve some of the problems. But, I still think the biggest problem is that the so many judges are simply incompetent.

dubate site profile image  

9/5/13 8:45 PM by dubate

Still a nice interview though

Lebronfloppedhisnutsonmyface site profile image  

9/5/13 8:44 PM by Lebronfloppedhisnutsonmyface

I fully agree with the idea that we need to CLEARLY DEFINE the scoring system so that there's at least an attempt at consistency. The Maynard/Edgar vs Machida Rampage example is perfect. I can't think of a more lop-sided round than that Edgar fight.

rockethands33 site profile image  

9/5/13 8:27 PM by rockethands33

Great job as always, Crooklyn. Joe always has an interesting perspective on many subjects; however, it's not the scoring system that needs to be changed, it the people that implement it. You can have the best scoring system in the world, but if some officials follow it and some don't, we're in the same situation.It's amazing but not surprising that many current "high level" or "experienced" judges are far from being on the same page. There is no question that "new blood" is needed. The old guard needs to evolve or go away. That goes for both Athletic Commissioners and officials.Updating current officials is the biggest challenge. With AC's not requiring training or having a true evaluation system in place, officials that continue to perform at a low level are still assigned do to tenure or just being part of an "'ol boy's club".

Zekolas site profile image  

9/5/13 5:28 PM by Zekolas

This, I 100% agree it is absolutely absurd some judges will score Edgar-Maynar 10-9 and Machida-Rampage 10-9.The whole half points is the hope instead of a judge scoring everything 10-9 is they may be more open to score 10-9.5 on close rounds and 10-9 on all others.However as you said its 100% totally un-needed if refs would score rounds 10-7 on total blowouts, 10-8 where one opponent clearly "won" and was dominate 10-9 when its pretty much even but maybe one opponent got 1-2 more good strikes or take downs but not dominate; and for the love of god score a round 10-10 on an even round.

Crooklyn site profile image  

9/5/13 4:11 PM by Crooklyn

Thank you!

MattyECB site profile image  

9/5/13 3:41 PM by MattyECB

Rant aside and more importantly, good interview as always Crooklyn!VU, and I'll always check out anything you post.