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Morning Report: Joe Rogan unknowingly suggests fixing MMA judging with current criteria

MMA: MAY 15 UFC 262 Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Judging in MMA will seemingly never be perfect ,and in 2022, the complaints regarding decisions feel like they’re rapidly multiplying.

At UFC Vegas 55 a few weeks ago, the main event between Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira was the hot topic of discussion regarding whether or not the UFC should adopt open scoring. Brazil’s Vieira walked away as the victor of the bout via split decision despite being outstruck in every round but the first. The consensus was that Vieira landed the more damaging blows of the two in key moments but a large portion of the community felt Holm should have been the victor thanks to her volume and control.

In terms of criteria and how a fight is scored, open scoring doesn’t necessarily fix anything aside from allowing fighters and their coaches to make better adjustments mid-fight having extra knowledge. Everyone has their suggestions on what can be done differently or how judging can be “fixed.” Recently sharing his thoughts on the matter is longtime UFC commentator, Joe Rogan.

“Maybe there’s a way to score it like you would give points for moments in fights where someone either did damage or someone had control, but control was not worth as much as damage,” Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “Because you can survive control unscathed. Just because someone has you down maybe in half-guard, and you’re just clinching and controlling, you can survive that for a couple minutes sometimes, and nothing happens. Even though the person’s in control of you, it’s not that big of a deal. But then damage: How much more is damage worth? Like if you see the person gets wobbled or you see like a big, impactful kick, you’re like, ‘Wow, that was a significant moment in the fight. So that would be worth more.’ Instead of being attached to this system. It’s just not comprehensive enough, I don’t think.”

During that episode, Rogan was speaking to current UFC bantamweight titleholder, Aljamain Sterling who was in agreement. Sterling also recently was under fire for his closely contested rematch with Petr Yan at UFC 273. Ultimately coming down to round one, Sterling managed to earn the split decision win after two big rounds on the mat with his dominant grappling control in the second and third frames.

Funny enough, Rogan’s proposed enhancements on how to score fights already was put in place when the Association of Boxing Commissions made some updates in 2016. As the debates rage on, arguments have been made that perhaps it’s not a scoring issue in itself, but a matter of the community understanding exactly what that criteria reads.

“Effective Striking/Grappling shall be considered the first priority of round assessments,” Reads the unified rules and scoring criteria as written by the Association of Boxing Commissions. “Effective Aggressiveness is a ‘Plan B’ and should not be considered unless the judge does not see ANY advantage in the Effective Striking/Grappling realm. Cage/Ring Control (‘Plan C’) should only be needed when ALL other criteria are 100% even for both competitors. This will be an extremely rare occurrence.

“Legal blows that have immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute towards the end of the match with the IMMEDIATE weighing in more heavily than the cumulative impact.

“Successful execution of takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions that produce immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute to the end of the match, with the IMMEDIATE weighing more heavily than the cumulative impact.

“It shall be noted that a successful takedown is not merely a changing of position, but the establishment of an attack from the use of the takedown.

“Top and bottom position fighters are assessed more on the impactful/effective result of their actions, more so than their position.

“This criterion will be the deciding factor in a high majority of decisions when scoring a round. The next two criteria must be treated as a backup and used ONLY when Effective Striking/Grappling is 100% equal for the round.”


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Maybe Joe was just trying out a new comedy bit...? Happy humpday and thanks for reading!



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If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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