This Friday night Invicta Fighting Championships will be the 1st mixed martial arts promotion to experiment with using ‘open scoring’ during their Phoenix Series 3 event.
While many people welcome this new twist to scoring mixed martial arts contests, I’m looking at it differently.
Open scoring means we will be able to know the score of each round within 30-40 seconds of completion of the round is not going to change how judges who are incompetent score a fight.
Proper training, you know, sitting in a room watching fights with an expert on scoring and then being judged on your judging is actually a bigger step in the right direction to fix the inherent scoring issues that we have today in mixed martial arts.
Educating those that are going to be judges is paramount in fixing the problem. I also believe that all athletic commissions should reach out to former fighters and try to encourage them to become officials once they’re fighting careers are over. Those that do this (fight) for a living, in my mind would be better suited to officiate fights rather than people that are appointed to a commission because of their friendship with somebody in high places.
While I do like the positive feeling that this open scoring brings because it means there may be a willingness amongst judges and commissions to try and actually correct the problem in front of them, this is not the answer.
As I’ve stated before when the topic of open scoring has been brought up, the only difference it will make is that we will know ahead of time before the fight ends which judges suck at their job!
How exactly it is all going to look and work on Friday night in Kansas City? Here is a breakdown of that from an article by ESPN’s Marc Raimondi.
- Kansas boxing commissioner Adam Roorbach said two people will collect the judges’ scores after every round. Roorbach will then input the scores into a computer.There will be two people on either side of Memorial Hall — in the direct line of sight of the fighters’ corners — with tablets that will show those scores.
Invicta also will put the scores on the big screen at the beginning of each round.
The idea is that the fighters won’t easily be able to see the scores themselves, but their coaches can tell them if they so desire.
Roorbach said the plan is to avoid being invasive in any way to the fighters. He expects that the entire process will take about 40 seconds or less each round. Fighters get one minute in the corner between rounds.
“We don’t want to take away from the fighter getting their recovery time,” Roorbach said. “We don’t want to take away from the cutman or coach working on the fighter.”
The commission, the fighters, and the fighters’ corners will do a walk-through on Friday after the weigh-ins so that each party knows how the new process will go.
The scores will not be announced over the PA system. And for the first time in Kansas, Invicta will provide judges with monitors at their cage-side positions to provide more viewing options.
As stated, the scores are not going to be read over the public address system, but they are going to be put up on screens in the arena. Fighters are going to see them and if they don’t their coaches and corners are going to let their fighter know the scores, why wouldn’t they?
If a fighter is out to a 2 round lead, or a 4 round lead in a main event or title fight will they change how they finish the fight? Will they do more running to avoid engaging in situations where they could be submitted or knocked out?
I believe more often than not if open scoring becomes the norm that those fighters that are front running and are out to a big lead will do the smart thing and fight safely. Not just to secure a victory and the glory that comes with it, but to take home the winner’s paycheck. In a sport where so many people feel that the athletes are underpaid, including the athletes themselves, having an easier path to the bigger payday is going to influence how fighters that are clearly ahead on the cards fight, it’s human nature!
Scoring, and how it’s done needs to change, there is no doubting that whatsoever! With that being said, open scoring isn’t going to change ego! I say that because many judges have this air of ‘I’m in charge’ about them and don’t care if fans or fighters agree or disagree with their scoring. If they did, they would request to work under the guise of anonymity so nobody knows who they are and therefore they can’t be criticized publicly!
Many of them can’t be told what to do and the fact that so many judges make bad decisions on a regular basis with no repercussions from their employers, the athletic commissions themselves, broadcasting their scores after each round isn’t going to all of a sudden make them say “Hey, maybe I should do my job better?”
One other thing that hampers both referees and judges is the inconsistency of the so-called unified rules. Every state commission seems to interpret the unified rules to their liking. How can we expect or demand better officiating if the people that are enlisted to do the job of being an official can’t keep up with the different rule sets in every single jurisdiction that they work in?
There’s that ego thing popping up again! No commission wants to be told what to do by another commission. Ego is a terrible thing!
At the end of the day, I’m all about trying new things to help. This, however, at least in my mind, is going to be an exercise in futility and isn’t going to provide the much-needed change that so many think it will bring.
Hats off to Shannon Knapp and the folks at Invicta FC for being the 1st to give this a try. Nothing wrong with being the 1st, and making a little history along the way.
Invicta FC: Phoenix Series 3 takes place this Friday night live from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas and will be aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.