Florian on the many problems with MMA judging


If you care about problems with judging in MMA, and every does, then you should read what former UFC featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight Kenny Florian has to say.

If you don't already have a general familiarity with the 10 point must system, based on clean strikes, effective grappling, cage control, and effective aggressiveness, then click here.

Florian makes a wide variety of suggestions for improving scoring in MMA, including...

...Give judges multiple camera views.

Angles on the Octagon can make it difficult for the judges to see all of the action. If a fighter has your back to you it can be hard to see if “clean strikes” are being landed. Even seeing all the grappling exchanges can be challenging for a referee on the wrong side of the cage. Monitors in all states and countries holding MMA bouts would help greatly in situations where judges can't see the action in front of them. Being cageside myself calling the action, 80% of the time I defer to the monitors to help me get the best angles of the action in the Octagon.

...Use noise cancelling headphones.

I would also like to see the judges use some kind of a noise-canceling headphones of some sort to drown out the cheers of the crowd. I truly believe that coaching from the corners and cheers from the crowd can affect the way a fight is judged. Many times crowds will "ooh and ahh" whether a strike lands cleanly or not. It is also hard to ignore the instructions and cheers from coaches who are cageside. We can't ignore the fact that what we see and hear greatly influences the way we perceive things.

...Subject judges to peer review.

I think we also need to hold the judges accountable for their actions. I doubt judges are paid very well, but money is always a pretty good motivator for job performance. How great would it be to have the judges reviewed by a panel of fellow judges, referees and fighters? This way we can reward good judging and penalize poor judging monetarily. After all, the fighters certainly pay for it financially in a big way if they are on the wrong end of a decision. I would also like to see quarterly reviews by an independent panel of judges, referees and fighters. This would help encourage judges to work hard to educate themselves and improve at their job. Fight footage and breakdown from fighters, judges and referees would really help explain things and help give good perspective on rounds won or lost.

Read entire article...

What do you think should be done to improve judging in MMA?


tags: UFC   Kenny Florian (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

OneSidedWar site profile image  

10/9/13 4:14 PM by OneSidedWar

Its def true that depending where you are in the arena, the fight can look VERY different. Ive been live a ton of times where I thought fighter-A beat the tar shit outta fighter-B but when I watched it on DVD/TV its WAY different. Greg Jackson is a GREAT example of "corner-bribing" (sp?). Smart tactic for a coach to "act" pleased at certain techniques & relay that satisfaction to the judges verbally. Been done for years. Ever wonder why Thai teams yell "Ayeeee" after every strike..? Another old school trick is to count outloud (almost to the ref) when throwing g&p punches. Bottom line, verbal notifications can alter ones perception.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

10/9/13 2:41 PM by ChaosOverkill

No no I don't mean objectivity in the judging I mean that fights where there's lots of disagreement there is no "wrong answer"

Fox censored my Chael screen name site profile image  

10/9/13 2:22 PM by Fox censored my Chael screen name

There's always going to be subjectivity if you are trying to "score" a round/fight.   While one person may put more emphasis on take downs, another might put more emphasis on aggression/pace sub attempts, etc....   Here is what I know. When UFC started out, it was very simple- You won, or you lost, or it was a draw. No scoring, you finish, got finished, or nobody was "rewarded" with a victory. When your focus is to break your opponent, finish him anyway you can, the brings the pure essence out of fighting. You never saw an end of round takedown like Chuck/Wandy, or end of round sub attempt like Jones/Shogun, you saw middle of the fight finishing moves.   People either forget or just don't know how easy and pure the sport started out.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

10/9/13 2:14 PM by ChaosOverkill

  True, but anyone using close fights as the reason judging needs improvement is just like you mention arguing their fanboy head off.   It;s the fights where grappling is ignored entirely or dominant rounds get inexplicably judged for the opposite guy or when a draw really would make more sense.   Those are what need to be cleaned up. If people can't at least see with the difference in the media and fighters that Jones vs Gus was close enough to go either way well then there is no objectivity left in sports and those people are just going to have to live with being angry their guy or the guy they hate didn't win or lose respectively. If anyone thinks you can get this perfect and it has to be or it's still broken is insane. Even little improvements will have a great effect.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

10/9/13 2:10 PM by ChaosOverkill

The multiple camera angles would be huge

Newaza freak site profile image  

10/9/13 2:04 PM by Newaza freak

Even draws would also be argued about. If you take the Gus/Jones FIGHT and called it a draw. Fans would Still argue on both sides ,as to who really won.

Newaza freak site profile image  

10/9/13 2:02 PM by Newaza freak

The previous poster nailed it too,Regardless of What scoring system is used or How competent the Judges could possibly be. There are certain fights ,That Will always be debatable Regardless of who is called the winner. A better scoring system or even better Judges Will not eliminate certain fights That FIGHT fans would like to argue about.

Fox censored my Chael screen name site profile image  

10/9/13 1:27 PM by Fox censored my Chael screen name

I like his pro active thinking and he does have some legit ideas, however there will still be a problem with fights declaring a winner when really the fight should end in a draw.   Jones/Gus  Melendez/Henderson Dodson/Johnson Edgar/Aldo   Those are 4 title fights just this year where a clear winner was not determined.    Take away the sound, give the judges monitors, make them accountable, and guess what, any one of those 4 title fights could still have been scored for either fighter, and more than likely the outcome would've been scored the same if Kenny's ideas were already in play.   My biggest irritation with mma is how promotions, commissions, and FANS are so complacent with the lack of clarity in fight outcomes.

disbeliever site profile image  

10/9/13 1:20 PM by disbeliever

Great suggestions by kenflo.

clattymine site profile image  

10/9/13 1:17 PM by clattymine

Damn ... those are some great suggestions.  All of them are easy and completely doable inside of a year.  The commission and its inability to change anything in the slightest way is the real issue.