The Problem With MMA Scoring
When MMA fans sit down to watch a fight, most are hoping for a highlight reel knockout or a mind blowing submission. Very few anxiously await a judge’s decision to determine a fight’s winner. Unfortunately, not every fight ends in the exciting fashion we all hope for and fans are left to wait for the decision of three trained spectators who watched the fight up close. The UFC’s website says scoring is based on different types of striking and grappling and that ”no single discipline reigns.” Lately though, it seems there is one discipline that is far more important than any other. That discipline is wrestling.
Example 1: Last Saturday’s UFC 108 Main Event fight between Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva. From the start of the fight it was very clear that Evans had one advantage over Silva and one only: his wrestling ability. The former champ had no business trying to stand and trade strikes with Silva and clearly had inferior jiu-jitsu (this was obvious when Silva easily escaped a mount in round one). Knowing this, he resorted to his wrestling backround-Evans was a collegiate wrestler at Michigan State-and proceeded to take Silva down repeatedly during the first two rounds. The problem is, Evans never really did any damage and Silva was able to get back to his feat with out too much difficulty after nearly every takedown.
Example 2: Clay Guida. Guida has quickly become a fan favorite because of his wild style of fighting and his crazy personality, but in the cage his biggest strength is without a doubt his takedown ability. This was never more obvious than during “the Carpenter’s” back to back wins over Mac Danzig and Nate Diaz in September 2008 and January 2009. Guida was able to earn decision victories in both fights while doing very little damage to either one of his opponents. Guida should definitely be rewarded for his outstanding cardio and wrestling ability, but that alone should not win him a fight. Further prove as to how much the UFC overvalues wrestling was actually in a fight Guida lost. In June 2009 Guida took a beating from Diego Sanchez and actually had one of the judges score the fight in his favor. For that to happen, one must assume the judges are not even close to being on the same page. A fighter should not have to change their strategy based on the judges, every fight should be scored the same.
Example 3: Gray Maynard. Five of Maynard’s six wins in the UFC have come by decision and every one of them has been a result of him out-wrestling his opponent. Many fans cried foul when Diego Sanchez was given a title shot at 155 before Maynard, pointing out that Maynard had six straight wins in the organization’s lightweight division while Sanchez only had two. The problem with this rationale is that no one wants to watch a boring fighter and that is exactly what Maynard and the other one dimensional fighters like him are. The UFC desperately needs to get their judges on the same page and stop rewarding fighters that make fans question the definition of MIXED Martial Arts.