Florian on the many problems with MMA judging

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

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?