Multiple-time UFC No.1 contender Kenny Florian has a resume far more stunning than most of his peers. The experience in the cage has given Florian a unique perspective that serves as a valuable tool in his post-fighting days as a UFC broadcaster and analyst.
With his insight and a keyboard, Florian took to FOX Sports and grappled with a topic that has been heavily debated for what seems like forever: MMA judging.
In a column for the UFC broadcast partner, Florian proposed that judges need to examine the intricacies of a fight to determine which positions and techniques are more valuable when scoring a fight. Additionally, “Ken-Flo” said that bad judging should come with a monetary penalty. Bad calls = stiff fines.
In his own words:
“Another huge problem with judging is that we haven’t really assigned values to specific techniques that are executed cleanly in the UFC. What value is a takedown versus a clean cross to the jaw? Is a knockdown valued the same as a near submission? Is a person going backward but landing punches not as effective versus a person going forward and eating punches? Is a high-amplitude takedown better than a foot sweep? These questions can be difficult to answer especially when seeing them performed at full speed in the context of a back-and-forth mixed martial arts contest. These are issues that should be discussed at length among judges.
“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.”
Florian’s proposals, although concise, are likely never to be given any time of day by the athletic commissions that oversee fights. Until then, bad decisions will be common place in the mixed martial arts arena, as well as in all other combat sports.