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    Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

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    payneNglory1
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    Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  payneNglory1 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:12 pm

    At UFC 132 on July 2 in Las Vegas, a fight between Dennis Siver and Matt Wiman followed what has become a regular pattern.

    The fight’s first and third rounds were very close. A judge could have made a case for scoring either round in favor of either fighter. Wiman clearly won round two, taking Siver down, busting his head open with ground strikes and connecting with elbows for most of the round. Wiman was never close to finishing, but dominated the round, though not enough for a 10-8 score on any of the judges cards.

    When it was over, there was no doubt Wiman had done far more damage in the fight. My thought was that Wiman won rounds two and three, but rounds one and three could go either way. In this case, all three judges gave Siver both of the close rounds for a unanimous-decision victory.

    The crowd lustily booed the decision. Wiman was so upset he stormed out of the Octagon. People on the Internet complained about corrupt judging and robberies. Reporters after the fight in the press room debated what happened. UFC president Dana White was asked, and he noted the people with whom he watched the fight, all had different viewpoints on who should have won.

    There are more complaints in mixed martial arts about judging – after nearly every fight card – than any other issue. The system is basically a hand-me-down from boxing’s 10-point must system, which works in bouts of eight, 10 or 12 rounds. But too often in a three-round MMA fight, a fighter, like Wiman, can inflict a great amount of punishment in winning a round, but lose the fight because he comes out on the wrong end of two coin-flip-close rounds, despite clearly doing more damage over the course of the bout.

    There is no scoring system that can overcome bad judges, and it’s much easier to blame incompetent judges, who do exist, and occasional bad scoring, which will continue to exist no matter what system is in place, then to make a change that will lessen but not eliminate the problem. The current system can, on occasion, render a bad decision from very good judges, usually with the “two close rounds, one dominant round” fight being the main culprit.

    “I think it’s just apathy and complacency,” said J.T. Steele, the president of the amateur California Martial Arts Organization, which is experimenting this year with a new system. “To change the status quo, and for our sport to evolve, you need passionate people willing to work hard. It costs money and it takes time. There’s not a lot of people out there willing to do that.

    Most of the controversial decisions, like Wiman vs. Siver, are based on a fighter being lucky on close rounds. Lyoto Machida vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 123 was the last UFC main event to fall into this category, where after the fight, reporters’ consensus was that Machida was the obvious winner of the fight, but that given the 10-point must system in place, the win by Jackson was the correct verdict – even though Jackson himself after the fight said he thought he had lost.

    It’s the inherent weakness of a system where almost every round is scored 10-9, no matter how close or how dominant it is. Virtually no rounds are scored 10-10, although judges are technically allowed to do so. Unless you dominate the round from start-to-finish and have your opponent just about finished, you are unlikely to get a 10-8 score.

    As frustrated as the fans and the promoters are, perhaps nobody is as frustrated as the judges themselves. At times, the person with the most points on your scorecard is not the person you really believed won the fight, a distinction few fans watching comprehend.

    Since the start of 2011, California has experimented with a half-point scoring system on its amateur shows, both to get feedback from its judges, and also to compile statistics. At the end of the year, when the stats are done, the findings will be presented to people like Marc Ratner, the vice-president for regulatory affairs at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the Association of Boxing Commissioners, to see if the system has more merit than the one in place.

    “I like what they are doing,” said Ratner. “Right now the best thing to do is use the system for a year, compile the statistics and see what we can learn.”

    Instead of always writing 10-9 on a scorecard unless there is a completely dominant round with a near finish, you have more options. A 10-9.5 is for a close round, like rounds one and three in Siver vs. Wiman, and rounds one and two in Jackson vs. Machida – both fights in which the person who ended up losing in the current system would most likely have won with the new system.

    A 10-9 would be the score for a round that is competitive, but, you have no doubt who won. That is still the score that comes up most of the time with the new system. A 10-8.5 would be for a round where one fighter dominated, but didn’t do enough for a 10-8, notably round two in Wiman vs. Siver, and round three in Machida vs. Jackson.

    A 10-8 would be similar to how it is currently used, and you’d even have a 10-7.5 for something more dominant than a normal 10-8 round, but for whatever reason, the fight isn’t stopped.

    The new system also includes a fourth judge whose lone job is to award points based on criteria. If the three judges come out to a draw, which has happened six times so far this year, a winner is determined based on a points system.

    The point system was put together by a panel that included well-known referees and judges “Big” John McCarthy, Herb Dean and Nelson “Doc” Hamilton, as well as Steele and George Dodd, the executive director of the California State Athletic Commission.

    The system is four points for a knockdown, two for damaging strikes, one for a takedown, one for a sweep, two for grappling into a dominant position (back, mount or side control), and four for a near submission.

    “We’re not married to this system,” said Steele. “We’re working on getting it as good as we can, and it’s getting close.”

    So far this year, 155 amateur fights in California have gone to a decision under these new rules. Of those, six, or 4 percent, had different winners based on half-point judging than they would have based on the current system. But there were 17 instances where one judge out of the three had a different winner based on half-points that he would have based on the current system.

    “The only ones that are changing are the ones that are very close and the judge has a finer gradient to implement points,” said Steele.

    “That’s going to occur in a very low percentage,” noted McCarthy. “Maybe in the end, the half-point system will make a difference in 5 percent of the fights, but that’s 5 percent where the fighters are getting the right outcome instead of the wrong outcome.”

    McCarthy noted he’d have given the UFC 132 bout to Wiman based on the half-point system, but also noted he had it 29-28 for Wiman with 10-point must, so in his case, it would not have changed the result on his scorecard had he been judging the fight.

    He said the big fear going into the year is the new system would result in more draws, which is why the fourth tie-breaker judge was put in place. Thus far with the half-point system, the number of fights that ended in a draw before going to the tie breaker was 3.8 percent. With the tie-breaker criteria, while a draw is still a possibility if the fighters end up even on points, that would virtually never happen in practice. So far in 2011, 2.4 percent of UFC fights have ended up as draws.

    “One thing we feared was more draws, but that hasn’t happened,” said McCarthy. “What we learned about the table [tie-breaker] judge is he’s giving points for things happening in the fight. You could take the table judges scores and look at the official judges scoring of the fight and it’s a very good way for the athletic commission to critique judges. If you have a fighter who scored 12-3 in one round and a judge who gave the round to the fighter with three, he’s obviously missing something.”

    “One thing we really like is at the end of the night, when we have the fourth judges’ points and then look over the scorecards, it’s very clear what happened during the fight,” said Steele. “You can tell if it’s a close round, a dominant round, it paints a better picture. Ten-point must is black and white. Half-points give you color. I think from a fan perspective and a regulators’ perspective, the half-point system gives you more validation. It gives you a better perspective of the bout. I think at the end of the day, the fighters deserve to have points awarded based on their merit. We’re really focused on trying to help the sport evolve from a grassroots level.”

    “I’ve talked to a lot of judges and they like it, and the one I’ve spoken to the most is my son, and he loves the half-point system,” said McCarthy. “At times, you can give a close round where a guy didn’t get taken advantage of, a 10-9.5, or with Wiman’s second round against Siver, a 10-8.5 – he does so much damage but he didn’t completely dominate the entire round. He likes the ability to do that.”

    “I haven’t encountered any criticism from my colleagues,” said Bill Douglas, another California judge, who favors the system for MMA, but not boxing or kickboxing, because most MMA fights are only three rounds. “The reaction has been very consistent. It’s either, ‘I’m good with this but if we have to go back, I’m also OK with it,’ or a number of officials are completely for it, but there’s been no negativity so far.”

    Steele considers this year part of a learning process, and wants a full year of statistics to learn advantages and disadvantages. Athletic commissions are usually interested in keeping the status quo. He feels if there is going to be a change, it will be spearheaded by the UFC itself.

    “I think it comes down to the UFC,” said Steele. “They have the most valuable MMA sports property in the world. The second they think that the judging is starting to negatively affect their product, and if they believe the scoring system is part of the negative affect on their product, we’ll see changes. For any athletic commission, being graced with the UFC coming to their state is the best thing for the athletic commission, for a city, or a town and for a local economy. If they really think it’s damaging their product, we’ll see changes.”

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/news?slug=dm-meltzer_mma_judges_scoring_071111



    The Present Scoring System

    The Ten-Point-Must System allows each judge to reward his or her selection of the more
    effective MMA fighter with a score of 10-9. In the rare instance when one fighter’s relative
    effectiveness is considered “damaging and overwhelmingly dominant,” judges may reward
    him with a score of 10-8. Conversely, when there is no way to even marginally distinguish
    between either fighter’s effectiveness, the very rare “10-10” score may be used.
    Our premise is that the Ten-Point-Must System, as used by the sport for which it was created,
    boxing, has proven inadequate for use in a multi-discipline sport like MMA, particularly
    when scoring very close rounds. The nature, variety and diversity of what regularly occur in
    most MMA rounds demands a scoring system with a finer gradient of options to ensure more
    fair and accurate scoring.

    The obvious failing of the current system is that it forces our judges to reward fighters
    equally for clearly unequal efforts, actions and results. Any round that falls between the
    vastly divergent circumstances of “marginal advantage in cage control” to anything short of
    “overwhelming dominance” are rewarded with the exact same score: 10-9. This results in a
    total-bout scoring that does not accurately reflect the action, leads to criticism of the officials,
    and even incurs accusations of corruption

    Ten-Point-Must System with the Use of Half-Points

    Using half-points allows judges to score bouts in a way that accurately reflects the qualitative
    difference between the combatants. By using this finer gradient of judging, officials may
    take into consideration both the “scoring criteria” and the “margin by which” each round is
    won. For instance, a fighter who wins a round marginally based on “cage control” would not
    receive the same credit as a fighter who wins a round based on the “greater damage
    inflicted.” The overall scoring of a bout should not be just a reflection of who won the most
    rounds, but also a reflection of the “nature of how” and the “margin by which” each round
    was won. This is particularly true for MMA, considering that the majority of bouts are
    scheduled for only three rounds.
    What follows is an abbreviated description of what justifies each score. This can easily be
    expanded and supported with video in order to help objectify and insure its’ consistent
    application.


    10-10: EVEN ROUND
    Although seldom warranted because very close rounds may be scored 10-9.5, its usage is
    preferable to arbitrarily choosing a winner. Generally, an even round reflects one of three
    scenarios.
     A round in which neither fighter distinguished himself via any of the established
    criteria.
     A round in which one fighter is more effective for half of the round and then his
    opponent comes back and exhibits equal effectiveness in the second half of the round.
     A round in which both fighters take turns equally inflicting damage on each other,
    scoring equally with clean strikes, effective grappling and or equal cage control.

    10-9.5: MARGINAL ADVANTAGE
    This score reflects a round that is extremely close. Neither fighter inflicts greater damage on
    the other. One fighter may have marginally scored a greater number of strikes, or takedowns,
    marginally controlled the grappling, or demonstrated superior cage control.

    10-9: CLEAR ADVANTAGE
    This score reflects a round in which it was fairly obvious who won, either through the
    comparative extent of damage inflicted, the number or quality of clean strikes, or the
    demonstration of superior grappling. 10-9 is the most frequently used score.

    10-8.5: DOMINANT ADVANTAGE
    This score reflects a round in which the winner is quite obvious, exhibiting dominance
    throughout the entire round, OR, inflicting significant damage to his opponent.

    10-8: OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE
    This score reflects a round in which one fighter clearly wins the round through a combination
    of damage and domination throughout the entire round resulting from the obvious effects of
    superiority in striking and/or grappling

    Although scores of 10-7.5 and 10-7 are theoretically possible, they are improbable. A fight so
    one-sided would ordinarily dictate a referee’s stoppage by TKO.


    PRIORTIZED SCORING CRITERIA

    1.Damage
    Damage may be defined as any visible sign of debilitation
     A cut or a bruise
     Appearing stunned from a blow to the head or body slam
     Wincing from a body blow
     Ceasing forward movement, becoming defensive or hastily retreating after being
    struck
     Staggering or favoring a leg that has been kicked.
     Debilitation resulting from the efforts required to escape wrestling holds or
    submission attempts.

    2. Effective Striking * / Effective Grappling
    Effective Striking and Effective Grappling should appear parallel as second on the list of
    prioritized criterion. They should be considered the “fall-back positions” for evaluating
    effectiveness when neither fighter distinguishes himself or herself in regard to damage
    inflicted. Placing “effective striking” above “effective grappling,” as exists in the current
    criteria, is unnecessary since the best measure of effective striking is “damage”. Keeping
    them parallel at number-two allows judges to evaluate equally the impact that either action(s)
    had with due consideration for how much of the round was contested on the mat versus via
    ‘stand-up’.

    3. Cage Control
    When neither fighter distinguishes himself through the amount of damage inflicted (1), or the
    volume or quality of successful striking / grappling (2), Cage (or ring) Control should be the
    point of evaluation for determining the judges score.
    Cage Control may be defined as dictating the pace, location and position of the contest
    through any of the following:
     Forcing the action through aggressiveness ***
     Countering attempted takedowns to remain standing
     Taking an opponent down to force a ground fight
     Creating threatening submission attempts
     Creating striking opportunities while on the ground
     Using footwork and timing to dictate the stand up action

    Resolving Draws

    Generally speaking, when a fight is declared a draw no one is pleased. This is particularly
    true when it occurs in a championship contest. With this in mind, let’s explore the criteria
    and procedure for resolving draws.
    In addition to three judges scoring each bout, there is a designated fourth judge, the Table
    Judge. The sole responsibility of this judge is to record the following techniques and scores.


    To gain points for position, the competitor must show clear control for three seconds

     Flash Knockdowns = 2 points
     Takedown or Throw into opponents guard = 2 points
     Sweep from bottom position = 2 points
     Passing opponent’s guard = 3 points
     Takedown or Throw into side control = 3 points
     Application of a Body Triangle = 4 points
     Gaining Full Mount position = 4 points
     Gaining Back Mount position with Hooks in = 4 points
     Gaining Back Mount knees on ground, opponent flat on stomach = 4 points

    The score total recorded by the Table Judge will be used only to resolve those bouts
    declared a draw after regulation time has expired. The fighter scoring the most points will be declared the winner by Technical Superiority. In the event that neither fighter scores a point,
    or, if the score is tied, the bout will be declared a Draw.

    Read entire Scoring System.
    http://www.mmarefs.com/blog/pdf/advancingthesportRevisedScoring.pdf
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    manschesthair_utd
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  manschesthair_utd on Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:18 pm

    horse shit.













    rounds that were being scored 10-9 will now be 10-9.5, rounds that were being scored 10-8 will now be 10-9.
    nothing will change, apart from the consistancy ....which will get worse.


    but thats just ignoring the elephant in the room which is the fact that round by round judging does not work at all in an MMA context. Basically what the current/proposed systems imply is that each 5 minute period is equal and that isnt true at all, firstly there have been rounds where no damage is dont by either man that are scored 10-9 and rounds where both guys get the shit beaten out of them which are scored 10-9.
    works in boxing with 12 rounds though, since its much more convenient to judge rd by rd.

    the whole system is flawed, judge fights as a whole.

    having rounds is stupid anyways.

    rant over. Laughing
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    payneNglory1
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  payneNglory1 on Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:17 pm

    I agree with you,but I'm afraid there is no way the commissions would allow the sport not to have rds anymore though,so we just have to except it and hopefully find a way to improve the judging system that we have in place,which obviously doesn't work for MMA.
    No rounds are out with kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent in todays MMA and i don't think that will ever change now.

    So just saying there has to be rd for rd scoring,i personally think this half point system is an improvement on what we are getting at the moment and hopefully would award more exciting fighters and give a better reflection on who should win at the end of a fight be it 3 or 5 rds.

    I think the majority of rds we get,would still be scored 10-9,but what the half point would do is punish the lay and pray and the guys that just turn up to spoil and squeak out a result, as they would be the ones that would be earning the 10-9.5 rds,They would basically have to win two rds or finish the fight to equal one rd an exciting fighter who is trying to finish a fight could earn.
    When you may only have to win one rd against a boring wrestler,it might make some of them change up there games and actually try harder for finishes when in dominant positions instead of just controlling the guy,if they know they'll only get a 10-9.5 score for it.

    also the only guys that will have a chance at scoring these 10-8.5/10-8 won't be the boring guys,it'll be the guys that are going for it all rd,the ones that deserve rewarding for there efforts IMO,so that could be an incentive to alot of fighters to try harder to put on a show and earn these big rds.

    It could like you say chesty make not one bit of difference,but out of all the changes people have come up with,I think this one seems to be the best and I'd like to see it come into effect,but time will tell,because at the end of the day if you still have an incompetent judge scoring the fights,then it makes no difference at all what changes are made.
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    Ginginho
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  Ginginho on Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:29 am

    Although I agree with chesty 100%, I can accept the necessity of having rounds - similar to breaks in any other professional sport - but the fight should still be scored as a whole. I don't think the half point method would work, mainly for the reason chesty suggested.

    That's why I would favour a points system, similar to the tie-breaker method listed above, scored by the judges in a way similar to amateur boxing. 2 of the 3 have to agree on what happened at the time it happens. A 4th judge could be upstairs reviewing the contentious points on video and would be the score allocator for those points.

    The advantage of this method is that the scoring is continuous, real time and available.

    The difficulty with this method is score allocation and comparing the different aspects of MMA as to allocate scores to them.

    Whatever happens, I am glad that they are looking at changing because it is pretty obvious that the present way of doing it is fucked up!!


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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  2brutal on Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:30 pm

    It needs to change the 10 point must system only works over 10 12 rounds,

    I quite like the new way with half points,

    Or just give more 10 10 rounds where it's that close

    Or still have rounds but just score the fight as a whole who the judge believes won the fight
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    manschesthair_utd
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  manschesthair_utd on Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:04 pm

    bit off topic but....

    if round 1 ends on the ground, round 2 is started standing

    is there a rational reason for this>?
    if all the rounds are for is a breather, drink and chance to clean cuts...why do they start them standing? should just reset in the position the round ended, its much more fair that way...i know it would definitley benefit ground fighters but its still more fair.

    you might think that it would mean for more boring fights, but in fact there would be far less stalling by the guy on the bottom.

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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  2brutal on Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:30 pm

    Not a bad argument rekon the scoring has more chance of been implemented though
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    Mryzyz
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  Mryzyz on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:28 pm

    This is a more elegant solution:

    Instead of having 3×5:00 rounds, have 2×7:30(12:30 for title fights).
    If both fighters have won a round each, the fighter who won their round most convincingly wins the fight.

    This will stop instances of a fighter getting the win by getting awarded two 50/50 rounds whilst convincingly losing one, e.g. Machida-Rampage

    Other benifits will be that it eliminates draws and rewards hurting your opponent more than the current system.

    Is this a good idea or what?
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    manschesthair_utd
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  manschesthair_utd on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:30 pm

    geeeeeeeeez....im not saying it wouldnt improve things Mryzyz but imo they should just have 1x20 minute round and 3 judges who pick a winner based on:
    1.x
    2.y
    3.z

    none of this 10 point must balls
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  Sheldan on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:41 pm

    I don't see why a fight can't just be scored as a whole using the same method that FightMetric uses.

    However, the alternate scoring system that Payne was talking about atleast looks to be going somewhere, and if the judges are educated on how to use it properly, and like Chesty said not just scoring 10-9 rounds 10-9.5 and 10-8 rounds 10-9, then I think that would work.
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  rudeboyben84 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:54 pm

    PRIORTIZED SCORING CRITERIA - couldnt be a bad Idea because it sets out in black and white what they are looking for.

    Half points couldnt be bad either because it gives more room for scoring close or dominant rounds.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    the 4th judge is quite possibly the worst thing ive ever seem. That scoring criteria is the more insane thing ive ever heard....

    Fighter A takes Fighter B down into side controll (3points) moves his leg a little and secures mount (4 points)

    Fighter B gets back to his feet and drops Fighter A 3 times, 3 propper brain rattling knockdowns scoring 2 points for each means fighter A wins the round? Fuck that, thats the most Bios to grapplers thing ive ever heard in my life. If that points criteria comes anywhere near MMA it will fuck things up further.

    is that right fighter A wins the round 7-6 or am I missing something? Laughing Because for me taking someones back at 4 points (even if you do fuck all with it) is not on par with 2 Knockdowns.

    -------------------------------------------------------
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  rudeboyben84 on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:56 pm

    The Table judge only scores knockdown (and barely at 2 points) the rest of the points are awarded for grappling only....

    So punching a guy from pillar to post, bloodying him, busting his ribs and you get taken down, Table judge has you looing the round!

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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  2brutal on Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:51 pm

    Not sure about the 4th judge

    The fight sud either be judged as a whole or try these half point and more level rounds
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  ChelseaQuinsfan on Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:14 pm

    you might think that it would mean for more boring fights, but in fact there would be far less stalling by the guy on the bottom.

    What about cases like King Mo vs Mousasi? Mousasi was very active off his back (which is what you say turned out to be his biggest downfall). Imagine if he started every round on his back. It just wouldn't be fair.

    Ben I completely agree with you here. There is no way 2 knockdowns is only the same as getting someone's back once.

    I understand that they are trying to get wrestlers to advance there positions more, but 4 points is far too much. Mount and getting someone's back should be 2 points, knockdowns should be 3, possibly 4.
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    Re: Experiment could revolutionize MMA judging

    Post  manschesthair_utd on Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:44 am

    ChelseaQuinsfan wrote:
    you might think that it would mean for more boring fights, but in fact there would be far less stalling by the guy on the bottom.

    What about cases like King Mo vs Mousasi? Mousasi was very active off his back (which is what you say turned out to be his biggest downfall). Imagine if he started every round on his back. It just wouldn't be fair.

    Ben I completely agree with you here. There is no way 2 knockdowns is only the same as getting someone's back once.

    I understand that they are trying to get wrestlers to advance there positions more, but 4 points is far too much. Mount and getting someone's back should be 2 points, knockdowns should be 3, possibly 4.

    king mo vs mousasi is a case of mousasi not "playing the game". the judging criteria needs to be changed to make the fights fights, all over but especially in north america and places using the "unified" judging criteria.

    if it was down to my prefered system Mousasi could have been taken down once and been on his back the entire fight, but mo wouldnt be able to lay his way to victory.

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