After nearly every event, we hear complaints about judges and their scoring. A subjective system is always going to be imperfect, but one of the biggest issues people have with the current one is when seemingly dominant rounds are scored the same as ones in which a fighter ekes it out.
That means that "10-9" rounds come in many different varieties. A round in which Fighter A lands one more punch than Fighter B can be 10-9, but so can a round in which Fighter A knocks down Fighter B, takes him down twice and threatens him with multiple submissions.
What's the solution? One that's been offered up is half-point scoring, which was tested in California amateur MMA in 2011. The belief is that it would give judges greater latitude in scoring close rounds, cutting the controversy. That possibility was recently brought up to UFC president Dana White in the wake of the UFC on FX 2 mess left by Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall's draw. In that fight, the scores were tallied incorrectly by the commission's regulators, robbing the fighters of a sudden-death round to determine the winner. But judging from White's animated answer, he's not a fan of the half-point system anyway.
"We get into half-points? They better learn to count f---ing whole points before we get to half-points," he said. "You put a half-a-point in there, holy s---, every f---ing card will be destroyed. It’s a bigger problem than half-points. And I don’t want to smash these guys, they accepted what they did and they were stand-up about it, but Jesus Christ, there’s three f---ing numbers. There’s 10s and 9s. If you can’t count 10s and 9s, let’s not throw f---ing fractions in there."
White said that during his career of promoting over 1,600 fights, a similar scenario has only occurred one other time, and though he didn't specify that instance, he's most likely referring to a UFC 41 bout between Matt Serra and Din Thomas. In that event, Serra was originally declared the winner by majority decision, but a scoring error was later discovered and New Jersey state regulators corrected the mistake, giving Thomas the win.
"It’s the worst thing ever when you go back and you tell a guy, 'I need to talk to you, you didn’t win this fight,'" White said. "The guy’s already made his f---ing phone calls, he’s already made plans. You think you won the fight and find out the fight’s a draw, or what would have been worse if I would’ve had to go back and tell him, ‘You lost the fight. You didn’t win.’
"That’s why tallying the scores and doing what they do is so important," he continued. "Not only for all the selfish things for me, for the product and the sport and the brand and all that stuff, but these fighters... You literally have their lives in your hands. Get a f---ing calculator. You know what I mean? Do something. Take more time. Make sure that stuff is right."