Predictable judging for an unpredictable sport: How?!

Saturday night’s UFC 143 card brought a great night of fights but the main event’s victor, Carlos Condit, is still fighting long after the final bell has rung.

Condit employed the perfect game-plan to defeat the always prepared and always lethal Nick Diaz on Saturday, but many MMA enthusiasts are unhappy with the judges’ decision and ripping Condit in the aftermath of the fight.

Which raises the question:  What do you have to do to win in the UFC today?

Obviously, the first thing you can do is finish the fight.  Leaving the decision out of the judges’ hands and walking home the decisive victor is easier said than done though, and oftentimes fights do go to the judges’ scorecards.

When this happens, how should judges score the fight?

The “rules of the Octagon” state:

Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the ring/fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.

Evaluations shall be made in the order in which the techniques appear in (c) above, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.

The rules go on to become more and more specific (the full list can be found here) but the point I want to make is that in such an unpredictable, anything-can-happen sport, it is incredibly difficult to quantify a match.

Words like “effective” are repeated, but is there an “effectiveness scale”?   Unless a strike inflicts visible damage or results in  knockdown, it’s pretty hard to tell what is more “effective.”

Thus, decisions like Diaz-Condit are born.

Nick Diaz pushed forward the entire fight, Condit smartly evaded and picked his shots.  When Diaz wasn’t moving forward (very rarely) Condit destroyed him with combos.

So how are you supposed to judge this fight?  Diaz clearly had the Octagon control and aggression, Condit had more strikes landed and seemed to land the more “effective” strikes, as Diaz’s face was wearing the beating much worse than Condit’s.

Watching the fight from a “street fight” perspective, Condit seemed to win.  He “beat the other dude up” more.  But Diaz won if you look at the criteria laid out by the UFC.

So what can you do?  Do you think Condit won or do you think Diaz got screwed out of the interim belt?  Where can judging go from here?  MMA is still relatively new and the rules have already come so far since the sport’s inception, but I think Saturday’s main event is a great example of where it still needs to go.

What do we need to see? Are the rules fair or is an overhaul necessary?

Let’s discuss!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s