Morning Report: Vitor Belfort Wants Chris Weidman; Judging Changes Proposed to Unified Rules of MMA

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

I'll start this off by stating the obvious. MMA judging is broken and it's going to take plenty of work to fix it.

That being said, the Association of Boxing Commissions (don't worry about the name) knows this and they've outlined a few significant revisions to the Unified Rules of MMA that will be voted on at next week's annual ABC conference.

There's a lot to go over here, so we'll cover all the bases after the jump.

First off, in an effort to curb defensive gameplans, "effective defense" has been slashed from the judging criteria. To quote the proposal: "Offensive actions should be the only criteria used to score MMA matches. Offensive fighters are fighters which carry the fight and push the action, and make the fight happen ... Having two fighters avoid offensive actions and rely solely on defense goes against the basic primary consideration of any combative sport."

Somewhere, Clay Guida is crying.

Next, the system we have right now gives precedence to striking over grappling when it comes to scoring rounds. No longer. The commission has proposed to amend the criteria so that both striking and grappling are given equal weight moving forward.

In doing so, the definitions for what constitutes "effective striking" and "effective grappling" have been clarified.

The proposed new classification for "effective striking" favors power over sheer numbers. Essentially, peppering your opponent to point-fight your way to a decision could become a bit more challenging. Per the document: "Heavier strikes that have a visible impact on the opponent will be given more weight than the number of strikes landed. These assessments include causing an opponent to appear stunned from a legal blow, causing the opponent to stagger, appearance of a cut or bruise from a legal strike and causing the opponent to show pain ... If neither fighter shows an advantage in impact of strikes, the number of strikes will determine the most effective striker."

On the flip side, the bounds of "effective grappling" now extend to BJJ players who specialize in active guards from the bottom. According to the proposal, if a lay ‘n' prayer is inactive from the top while the opposing fighter is constantly threatening with submissions off his back, the guy on bottom takes the round.

The third amendment is basically a minor fix aimed at creating friendlier public relations. The term "damage" will be removed from the judges' lexicon, in the hopes that a less violent criteria may curb ignorance and help gain sanctioning from reluctant state bodies.

Lastly, the new standards favor "effective striking" and "effective grappling" more than "effective aggression," and far more than "cage control" when tallying round scores. As such, the definition of every potential score from a 10-10 to a 10-7 has been refined:

1. A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows superiority by even a close margin. This score should rarely be used.

2. A round is to be scored as a 10-9 Round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, demonstrating effective grappling, and utilizing other effective legal techniques.

3. A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant wins by a large margin, by effective striking and or effective grappling that have great impact on the opponent.

4. A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant totally dominates by effective striking and or effective grappling, which put the opponent in great danger throughout the round. In a 10-7 round referee stoppage may be eminent. This score should rarely be used.

So there we have it. Just a reminder, none of this is final until the commission has the opportunity to vote at next week's ABC conference.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

MMA rule changes. The Association of Boxing Commissions finalized a few significant changes to the unified rules of MMA that will be voted on at next week's conference, including the removal of effective defense and "damage" as a judging criteria, and giving equal weight to striking and grappling.

Belfort wants Weidman, Lombard or Boetsch. Top-ranked middleweight Vitor Belfort said he hopes to fight either Chris Weidman or the winner of Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boestch at the UFC's next card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, according to a report from Tatame.

Johnson not interested in Bellator. Former UFC welterweight Anthony "Rumble" Johnson discussed his weight-cutting troubles, his decision to finally move to 205 pounds, and why he turned down a Bellator contract so he could eventually return to the UFC.

Showtime boss wants champion vs. champion fights. Showtime Sports President Stephen Espinoza publicly outlined his desire to stage champion vs. champion superfights between the two Zuffa entities, UFC and Strikeforce.

Fernandes to make ONE FC debut against Falciroli. Former DREAM multi-divisional champ Bibiano Fernandes has agreed to fight Gustavo Falciroli at ONE FC: Pride of a Nation for his promotional debut, which is set to take place August 31, 2012.

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MEDIA STEW

There's plenty of worse ways you could start your morning than watching 20 minutes of Hector Lombard and Tim Boestch preparing to be total savages. (Oh, and here's 16 more minutes of Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao doing the same. Who says you need to get work done today?)

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A while back someone told Rener Gracie he couldn't leap out of a 3-foot pool. And so he did it. But apparently that wasn't enough to keep all the complainers satisfied, so this time Rener upped the stakes.

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Be honest here. Where would you rate The Natural's acting chops in his latest scene from Hijacked on a scale of 1-to-10?

(HT: MMA Mania)

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So apparently Frankie Edgar's first fight was held in a gym with blood stained floors, a barbed wire perimeter, no medical staff available, and people fighting in jeans. What did Edgar do? He mounted the kid and headbutted the crap out of him.

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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JASON HIGH AND KING MO GOIN' HARD AT EACH OTHER

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I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

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ONE HAPPY CHAMPION

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, July 17, 2012):

ONE FC: Pride of a Nation: Bibiano Fernandes (11-3) vs. Gustavo Falciroli (12-3-2)

UFC 151: John Lineker (19-6) vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (19-5-6), according to Tatame

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Dangalvan fill your daily list fix with: The Top 20 Flyweights

7. John Dodson (13-5)

The fighter that moved up and down the most throughout the rankings process was John Dodson. I don't know what to think about Dodson. He ran through the TUF tournament, but he had a tough time against Tim Elliott. I'm willing to let the Elliott fight slide because of the left hand injury he suffered during the fight. The more I watch Dodson fight, the more I like him. His strongest attribute isn't his speed, striking or wrestling, but his raw athleticism and ability to grow so much from fight to fight.

6. Darrell Montague (11-2)

The flyweight that has been lost in the shuffle amongst the Ian McCall's and Jussier da Silva's is Darrell Montague, and I don't know why. His loss to McCall at TPF 10 was a tough loss, but Montague was game in that fight with his striking. Montague is one of the best pure strikers at flyweight. What he needs to work on his take-down defense and cardio. Working on those two things will lead to great things in the 24 year-old's bright future.

5. Chris Cariaso (14-3)

I'm probably higher on Chris Cariaso then most people, but I think the praise is well-deserved. Ever since bantamweight phenom Michael McDonald began to fight under the ZUFFA banner, the only fighter to make him look human was Chris Cariaso. Cariaso is a scrappy, well-rounded fighter that rarely finishes his opponents, but his success is based on his take-down defense that allows him to win his fights with his stand-up that is based around his power left.

4. Jussier da Silva (14-1)

The best news I heard all day yesterday was that the UFC signed Jussier da Silva. Da Silva is one of the best flyweights on the world, and he has some unfinished business with Ian McCall. Da Silva has more than adequate striking skills, but his sole mission once the first bell starts is to take his opponents down and submit them. Da Silva has an underrated shot, and his ability to completely dominate his opponents on the ground is remarkable.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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