Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer has been in the spotlight of critics for some time now, from the controversial decision in the Pacquiao/Bradley bout, to the Mayweather/Canelo majority decision and most recently, a questionable decision in the St-Pierre/Hendrick bout, all of which are overseen by Kizer.
Talks began to arise about a possible switch to the open scoring system, which would require commissions to announce judges totals after certain intervals during fights.
This could act as an advantage for both fighters, allowing them to see where they stand and better adjust to what they need to do or what they can expect an opponent to do. There are also some downsides to open scoring as explained by Kizer.
Kizer recently spoke out on the potential hazards to the switch to an open scoring system with Ben Fowlkes of MMAJunkie.com:
“First of all, you could have people throwing beer bottles and all that,” Kizer said. “Secondly, even if they don’t throw beer bottles, the judges – and I’ve talked to some of them about this – they’d be afraid. They’d be looking behind them during the next round. Then the rest of the fight after that, there’s the potential for the judges to be distracted.”
There’s also the potential for the judges to be influenced by hearing one another’s scores, Kizer said. If you’re a judge who scored the first four rounds for one fighter while your colleagues have it more evenly split, “There’s going to be some pressure on you to feel like you should give the fifth round to the other guy.
The other concern is how it might affect fighters, and our perceptions of them. Forget about them playing it safe in the final round. Many of them already do that when they know they’re ahead, Kizer said, “But so what? They take a knee in football. It’s part of sports.”
Something’s got to give in combat sports with decision just too often being questionable during fights that seem to be clear. Whatever happens though, expect a long and drawn out process with pundits from both sides having their voices heard ad nauseum.