Judging and decision victories are one of the most highly criticized and contested components of professional MMA. Most fight fans are familiar with the standard 10-point must method of scoring fights on a round by round basis, but are there ways that scoring system can be improved? Over the past three years, we’ve been able to see how the new Asian MMA organization One FC has adopted a very different standard judging method that is not based on concrete points. Between the traditional 10-point must system of the UFC and the newer judging methods of One FC, what makes the most fight sense?
The UFC utilizes the rules standard to boxing, adopting the 10-point must system. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points are awarded to the winner of the round and 9 points or less must are awarded to the loser (with the exception of an rare 10-10 even round). Judging the number of legal strikes, effective grappling, control of the fight area, aggressiveness, and effective attacks, a winner and loser of each round is determined by a superiority in point breakdown. The breakdown is based on what the UFC calls a “sliding-scale” depending on how the majority of the fight takes place. If the competitors spend the majority of the round on the ground, then their effective grappling is weight first before effective striking. If the majority of the bout is spent standing, striking is weighed first before grappling. If a round ends with a relatively even amount of standing and ground fighting, both are judged equally.
One FC Rules
One FC’s judging is based on a much looser formula. The judging criteria is not based on rounds or point scoring, it is an entirely cumulative assessment of the fight. The rounds do not have any stated significance when awarding a fight to a determined winner. In the event that a bout goes the distance, the determination goes as follows: “The 3 judges will score the bout in its entirety, not round-by-round. Judges will utilize the ONE FC judging criteria in descending order of importance to determine the winner of the bout.” Judging criteria is based on importance of this descending order: near KO’s or submissions, damage, striking combinations and cage generalship, earned takedowns or takedown defense, and aggression.
The UFC’s standard of fight judging as determined on a round-by-round basis makes for a much different approach than One FC. Judging and scoring on a round-by-round basis makes for a very sectioned way of assessing a fight. The judging is more of an overall impression in One FC, based solely on total performance. When it comes to striking, there is no stipulations about effective strikes or ineffective strikes as with the UFC. The UFC’s 10-point must system provides judges with a very specific method of scoring based on points, rounds, and how to score based on how the fight takes place. One FC is not restrained by points or rounds and entirely depends on professional opinion. For better or worse, the newer method of judging in One FC gives much more power to a judge’s professional opinion than having judges be responsible for keeping track of a specific method of scoring.
Which method of judging do you think better suits MMA? Does One FC’s method of judging overall performance leave too much room for personal bias?