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7/17/12 3:15 PM
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Association of Boxing Commissions MMA Judging Committee
MMA Judging Criteria Revisions 2012 Report
Clearwater Florida Annual Conference

Overview:

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
Members
Aaron Davis
Ed Garner
Andy Foster
Nick Lembo
Dale Kliparchuk
Josef Mason
Todd Neal
Terry Smith
Joseph Cooper

Read entire document...


7/17/12 3:31 PM
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MITman2k
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Edited: 07/17/12 3:31 PM
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*edit*
7/17/12 3:36 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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 so, more 10-8 rounds and fighters can use their guard to win more easily?

Sounds good to me!
7/17/12 3:38 PM
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Ew0k187
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:) Phone Post
7/17/12 3:39 PM
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Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku
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 not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose
7/17/12 3:40 PM
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dannyapodaca
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N Phone Post
7/17/12 3:42 PM
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jdb2414
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I don't think the changes they made really move the needle too much, but we'll have to see.

It's too bad they didn't change them to include, and heavily weigh, attempts to end the fight. In my opinion, fighters should be given more points for a close submission attempt than ground "control". Or a near knockdown/out versus a glancing straight right hand (technically a "power" punch).

Not sure how they can influence this through judging, but I'd like to see tighter stand-up fights. When a guy like Leonard Garcia, who's perfectly capable of being a skilled stand-up fighter, chooses to swing wildly because he thinks it's more entertaining, then I think that's a problem that should be addressed one way or another.

I'd like to see more of an emphasis on skill and technique displayed. Whether it's improving your position on the ground, instead of sitting in someone's guard and throwing ineffective punches, or using your footwork to work angles (not just avoiding fights, or "running") and having a strategy with leg, body, and head strikes.

Just my two cents.
7/17/12 3:42 PM
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UGCTT_EnderTL
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Link redirects me to home page.. Tried copying it into safari as well. Phone Post
7/17/12 3:44 PM
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UGCTT_EnderTL
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"In my opinion, fighters should be given more points for a close submission attempt than ground "control"."

That would require the judges to understand the intricacies of the submission game but for some reason athletic commissions are against that. Phone Post
7/17/12 3:45 PM
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orcus
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By that criteria there should be LOADS of 10-8 rounds.

As for 10-7 "This score should rarely be used." -- uh, why? There are PLENTY of rounds that perfectly meet that description.
7/17/12 3:51 PM
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DanEzra
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Overall sounds like a big step in the right direction.
7/17/12 3:51 PM
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elburrogrande
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Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
7/17/12 3:51 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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orcus - By that criteria there should be LOADS of 10-8 rounds.

As for 10-7 "This score should rarely be used." -- uh, why? There are PLENTY of rounds that perfectly meet that description.

 well, that was the old criteria for a 10-8 right?
i see it as 10-7 is the new 10-8.
Now, 10-10 is an even round, 10-9 is a close round with a clear winner, 10-8 is a dominating round, but 10-7 is for REALLY dominating, almost finishing round.
7/17/12 3:52 PM
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elburrogrande
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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.

this is awesome!!!
7/17/12 3:52 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
or at least try for a guillotine, it would give the guy defending the TD incentive to do More than just keep it standing.
 
7/17/12 3:53 PM
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elburrogrande
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yeah the way its worded, for it to be a 10-7 round a fighter must be saved by the bell after being thoroughly dominated. which is very rare.
7/17/12 3:54 PM
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SleepBomb
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 so, wrestling and burning your arms out in a guillotine will score more. Did team Affa Male make these changes?
7/17/12 3:54 PM
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Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku
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elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
i didnt say he had 0 offense...lets say fighter A wants to strike and fighter B doesnt so he just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting...why should fighter B win if all he does is get stuffed?
 
7/17/12 3:54 PM
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elburrogrande
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Nexuscrawlers - 
elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
or at least try for a guillotine, it would give the guy defending the TD incentive to do More than just keep it standing.
 


exactly
7/17/12 3:55 PM
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elburrogrande
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Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku - 
elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
i didnt say he had 0 offense...lets say fighter A wants to strike and fighter B doesnt so he just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting...why should fighter B win if all he does is get stuffed?
 


because you cant punish a fighter for being offensive. If fighter A wants to win, he needs to attempt a guillotine or land some strikes when fighter B shoots. Simply defending will not get him the win.
7/17/12 3:59 PM
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Nexuscrawlers
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 “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”.


"man, that guy took a lot of Effective last round, lets see if he can recover"
7/17/12 4:04 PM
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IP
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Man, so much of this is subtle and subjective. Maybe having 5 judges would help insure accurate scoring (or 4 judges plus the ref).
7/17/12 4:05 PM
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Chiron
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It's not perfect but it sounds like a slight improvement. Of course, considering striking was supposed to be weighed more heavily before and landing a takedown basically won the fight no matter how much you were outstruck, now that they are saying they should be weighed equally may make the ingorant judges just automatically give the round to whoever lands the most takedowns regardless of everything else.

Hopefully this causes the judges to "reset" their retarded favoritism toward takedowns and realize they were considering them too heavily. Hopefully they start to realize the guy they should be rewarding is the one who is trying hard to finish the fight.
7/17/12 4:05 PM
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Nexuscrawlers - 
orcus - By that criteria there should be LOADS of 10-8 rounds.

As for 10-7 "This score should rarely be used." -- uh, why? There are PLENTY of rounds that perfectly meet that description.

 well, that was the old criteria for a 10-8 right?
i see it as 10-7 is the new 10-8.
Now, 10-10 is an even round, 10-9 is a close round with a clear winner, 10-8 is a dominating round, but 10-7 is for REALLY dominating, almost finishing round.
Thats how I read it.
 
7/17/12 4:09 PM
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Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku
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elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku - 
elburrogrande - 
Orcus Knows MMA Better Than Goku  - not sure why they took away defense..if one guy keeps shooting on another guy all match and gets stuffed 99% of the time and everything else is equal, the one stuffing the takedowns will lose


you answered your own question. Why would the guy defending the takedowns win? he had 0 offense. what he would need to do is stuff the takedown and attempt a takedown of his own.
i didnt say he had 0 offense...lets say fighter A wants to strike and fighter B doesnt so he just keeps shooting and shooting and shooting...why should fighter B win if all he does is get stuffed?
 


because you cant punish a fighter for being offensive. If fighter A wants to win, he needs to attempt a guillotine or land some strikes when fighter B shoots. Simply defending will not get him the win.

 i didnt say u punish anyone for being offensive..i want to reward someone for having good defense...fighter A wants to be offensive with his hands, fighter B wants to be offensive with his grappling...

look, i dont like it when a fighter just defends or runs away..im the last person that likes that style...but the fact of the matter is that in many many fights, one fighter has a standing advantage and one fighter has a grappling advantage..its not uncommon in these types of fights for the grappler to press the opponent against the fence and keep shooting for takedowns...everytime the striker tries to throw, the grappler ties him up...

if the grappler gets 10 shots stuffed but succeeds on 1, the net of that is the grappler wins that exchange ...doesnt make a whole lot of sense to me...

in a more likely scenario, let say the striker wins the standup, but he doesnt blow the grappler out and the grappler gets 2-3 takedowns out of 10 attempts...who wins? In my mind the stuffed takedown should negate the landed takedowns entirely so the stirker wins..but under this system who knows because you cant count any of the stuffed takedowns

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