If you watch enough UFC bouts, you have heard the announcers say, “the judges have scored the round 10 to 9 in favor of…” This scoring system is referred to as the 10-point Must system (TPM) where judges who are scoring the fight have to give one of the fighters a score of 10 for the round. After witnessing several controversial title matches over the past year, several MMA REFS (Ring Experienced Fight Specialist) are pushing for what they have titled the Mixed Martial Arts Specific Scoring (pronounced Mass).
The founder and most influential REFS is long time veteran, Nelson “Doc” Hamilton. Doc goes on to point out that under the new system, high stake fights such as: Quinton Jackson vs Forrest Griffin (2008), Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida (2009), and Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Rua (2009) could have had a different outcome. Dana White’s slogan on Ultimate Fighter, “Don’t leave it up to the judges” resonates in my mind as this proposal makes its way in the spotlight. Doc knows that scoring MMA bouts is not an exact science. However, he and his affiliates are trying to get it as close as they can.
This new proposed system has four distinct changes from the TPM system.
- All round are scored as follows:
a. 10-10 = Even round
b. 10-9.5 = Marginal advantage
c. 10-9.0 = Clear advantage
d. 10-8.5 = Dominant advantage
e. 10-8.0 = Overwhelming advantage
2. Scores are based on the following criteria, listed in descending order of importance: Damage inflicted, effective striking and/or effective grappling, octagon control
3. When the referee determines that a near submission is in effect, he will signal this to the judges by raising his arm overhead until there is a tap out or until the submission is terminated. When scoring, judges should consider a near submission as effective grappling, or quite possibly, damage inflicted
4. For the purpose of resolving draws, in addition to the three judges, there is a designated fourth judge, the table judge. Table judges do not score the bout. Their sole responsibility is to tabulate all technical scores, which are used to resolve the draw.
This new system appears to give the judges more discretion when scoring rounds, especially by rewarding those fighters who have an absolute dominating one. After hearing his argument, I would have to side with Doc on this one, who has refereed hundreds of professional matches. Hopefully, the commission is taking an educated look as these proposed changes because its acceptance or denial could change the UFC forever.
Want to hear Nelson “Doc” Hamilton’s full argument for Mixed Martial Arts Specific Scoring? Check out www.mmarefs.com and let me know your take on the topic.
Special thanks to MMA magazine