ABC committee changes Unified Rules judging


Association of Boxing Commissions MMA Judging Committee
MMA Judging Criteria Revisions 2012 Report
Clearwater Florida Annual Conference


In July of 2010 at the Association of Boxing Commissions annual conference in New Orleans a committee was struck to examine MMA judging.

The purpose of this committee was to examine a proposal made by Nelson “Doc” Hamilton to the ABC on the use of the 1⁄2 point judging system for MMA.

As a result of numerous discussions over the last several years involving all aspects of MMA judging the committee reported to the ABC membership in 2011 in Washington DC that one of their findings was to modify the current judging system (10 point must system).

The goal was not to change entirely the 10 point must system but to bring a greater clarity with respect to the overall criteria of MMA judging. The committee felt that by clarifying some of the criteria of the current judging system this would allow judges to make a more accurate score of the rounds and therefore enhance MMA judging.

Summary of Changes:

I. Effective Defense Removed as a criteria:
Effective Defense will no longer be considered a requirement for the following reasons:

1. The committee believes that offensive actions should be the only criteria used to score MMA matches. Offensive fighters are fighters which carry the fight and push the action, and make the fight happen.

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.

3. Having two fighters avoid offensive actions and rely solely on defense goes against the basic primary consideration of any combative sport: To score using offense.

II. Striking and Grappling are now considered to be given equal weight.
The old scoring system rewarded striking (as a primary consideration) more than grappling. Mixed Martial Arts is based on two skill sets - striking and grappling. The committee felt that grappling should not be a secondary factor in determining the outcome of a match. Grappling has a definitive skill set and athleticism and offensive capabilities which when used correctly can effectively end a fight. As such grappling skills should be rewarded and given equal weight to striking.

III. Damage:
“Damage” is as a term has been used a descriptor when discussing the scoring of MMA rounds by officials. It is the committee’s recommendation that this terminology be replaced by the term “effective”. This was a strongly debated consideration with the committee and something the committee reviewed in its entirety. The following reasons were given to remove the descriptor “Damage”:
1. The legal considerations surrounding the term “Damage” as a descriptor were given considerable weight and as such the committee felt that using the word “Damage” may contribute to the potential for liability in the event of any litigation that commissions may find themselves involved in.
2. The sport of MMA is still relatively new and has not received sanctioning in various jurisdictions. The committee felt that “Damage” as a descriptor may play a factor in helping to determine future sanctioning if the term was taken out of context with many opposed to MMA as a sport.
3. ABC Instructors who currently use this as part of their teaching curriculum are advised to make any and all subsequent modifications to their course material.

The following is the committees working document which if accepted by the ABC membership would constitute the new judging criteria to be accepted as part of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts:

Unified Rules of MMA – Judging Criteria Amended July 2012

Part I: Definitions

“Effective striking” is judged by determining the impact of legal strikes landed by a contestant and the number of such legal strikes. Heavier strikes that have a visible impact on the opponent will be given more weight than the number of strikes landed. These assessments include causing an opponent to appear stunned from a legal blow, causing the opponent to stagger, appearance of a cut or bruise from a legal strike and causing the opponent to show pain. Cumulative impact on a fighter will also be weighed. If neither fighter shows an advantage in impact of strikes, the number of strikes will determine the most effective striker.

“Effective grappling” is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown, reversals and submission attempts. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to a dominant position, and bottom position fighters using an active, threatening guard to create submission attempts. Submission attempts which come close to ending a fight will be weighted more highly than attempts which are easily defended. Submission attempts which cause an opponent to weaken or tire from the effort required to defend the technique will also be weighted highly in scoring. High amplitude takedowns and throws which have great impact will be scored more heavily than a takedown which does not have great impact.

“Effective aggression” is moving forward scoring with a legal technique or attacking from the guard with threatening submissions.

“Cage/Ring Control” is dictating the pace, place and position of the fight.

PART II: Application
All mixed martial arts bouts will be evaluated and scored by three judges. The 10-Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round and nine points or less must be awarded to the loser, except for an even round, which is scored (10-10).

PART III: Judging Criteria
The 10-Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round and nine points or less must be awarded to the loser, except for an even round, which is scored (10-10).

Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, effective aggressiveness and Cage/ring control. Scoring evaluations shall be made giving equal weight to effective striking and effective grappling. It will be determined on a sliding scale. If a round is affected more by striking, then striking will be weighed more heavily. If a round is affected more by grappling than grappling will be weighed more heavily. Cage/Ring Control are secondary criteria to be used when effective striking and effective grappling are even. Effective aggression will be weighed more heavily than cage/ring control.

1. A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows superiority by even a close margin. This score should rarely be used.
2. A round is to be scored as a 10-9 Round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, demonstrating effective grappling, and utilizing other effective legal techniques.
3. A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant wins by a large margin, by effective striking and or effective grappling that have great impact on the opponent.
4. A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant totally dominates by effective striking and or effective grappling, which put the opponent in great danger throughout the round. In a 10-7 round referee stoppage may be eminent. This score should rarely be used.

MMA Committee on Judging:
Chair Jeff Mullen
Aaron Davis
Ed Garner
Andy Foster
Nick Lembo
Dale Kliparchuk
Josef Mason
Todd Neal
Terry Smith
Joseph Cooper

Read entire document...


tags: Regulation   Association of Boxing Commissions   


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Recent Comments »

Diesel67 site profile image  

7/18/12 5:08 PM by Diesel67

 I might add "attitude" or "fighting spirit."  Are you willing to hurt your opponent bad if that's what it takes to win.  A sub not defended means you lose - unless the guy doing the sub is mooning at the ref to stop things instead of cranking til the arm or whatever the sub is on breaks.  If you have a tight choke on and the opponent doesn't tap, are you willing to squeeze that windpipe until he goes to sleep?  If your opponent can't keep his hands up any more, are you ready to use his head as a speed bag?    Come to think of it, if more fighters had that killer attitude judging wouldn't matter.  DON'T LET THE FIGHT GO TO THE JUDGES!

Marauder28 site profile image  

7/18/12 3:55 PM by Marauder28

You must be talking about the following statement, "The old scoring system rewarded striking (as a primary consideration) more than grappling."Sorry to be a dick, but if you had used a bit of critical thinking, or gone on to read the rest of it, you'd see that they were referring to takedowns, reversals, and submission attempts.Under definitions, "“Effective grappling” is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown, reversals and submission attempts."So, you see, putting 2 and 2 together you get... that despite a fighter holding someone down on the mat throwing ineffective shots while the bottom person was attempting sub after sub and/or completing reversals, there will be a good chance the power bottom will get more points than they currently do.So... I think they want to be on your side. I support this change.

Immaculata site profile image  

7/18/12 3:41 PM by Immaculata

No system will work if you have the same unqualified people using it. It's that simple.

boxy site profile image  

7/18/12 3:32 PM by boxy

That's definitely an improvement.There should be more 10-7 rounds being scored and even more 10-10 rounds. It's not unrealistic for athletes to fight to a standstill with neither gaining an edge. In fact, it happens in a lot of fights yet 10-10 rounds are extremely rare. It's taboo for some people to simply score an even round as such, and it shouldn't be.

jdb2414 site profile image  

7/18/12 3:24 PM by jdb2414

Judging is filled with subjectivity. These rules just provide them some guidelines and what to look for. We're not going to have a fully objective scoring system unless there's some major technological advancement. Compustrike and Fight Metric are perfect examples. Some score anything other than a jab as a "power strike", and I know we've seen some straight rights or hooks that are less effective than a solid jab. But if they changed their criteria, their system would be subjective, too.

Nexuscrawlers site profile image  

7/18/12 10:58 AM by Nexuscrawlers

Nice. Long overdue.

elburrogrande site profile image  

7/18/12 4:05 AM by elburrogrande

I think anything that causes you to defend is offense by definition. That is why a takedown is offense. You dont have to defend it. You can let me pick you up and slam you. either way you have to options, allow the takedown or DEFEND it.

DanGold site profile image  

7/17/12 11:31 PM by DanGold

Dangol let me judge it, man. Guida better finish his dadgum fights, or I'll make sure he loses every decision ever. Boring long haired sumbitch.

MMAxNate site profile image  

7/17/12 7:26 PM by MMAxNate

 also notice the part where they will be requiring more training for all judges on the techniques and skills involved in mma.

bruceleesspirit site profile image  

7/17/12 7:20 PM by bruceleesspirit

 For the record, these changes have not been implemented yet. This is a proposal they will talk about at next week's meeting. Stay tuned for outcome...