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Abbey Shepard
Abbey Shepard

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MMA Open Scoring

MMA open scoring is a hot topic and fearlessly contested debate. However, Invicta (the world’s premier all-women’s combat sports organization) announced that it will trial open scoring at the upcoming PHOENIX SERIES© 3 event scheduled for Friday, March 6 in Kansas City.

The event will be overseen by the Kansas Athletic Commission, who also announced they will offer open scoring as an option to all MMA promotions.

Under the commission’s direction, all three judges’ scores will be collected at the end of each round. The scores will then be provided to the corners of each fighter, as well as the promotion’s broadcast team, via commission officials. A graphic will be displayed on the broadcast revealing the scores to the viewing audience both in the arena and at home.

Problem solved! .... or is it?


As a high profile athlete and one of the biggest names in the UFC, Max Holloway has always supported an open scoring system. 👇🏼

A fair question right? At the end of every round, the athlete, their corner, the colour commentators, the audience, they all know who needs to do what to win. Sounds like a dream come true for fight fans..! Every athlete will know that they need to step on the gas to get that win rather than leaving it in the judge's hands.

That is if your thinking is only skimming the surface. Consider this 👉🏼 You are in attendance in some UFC Brazil event, it's a 5 round championship bout between a local athlete and a not so local athlete. The first round gets called, local loses it, second round gets called, local loses it. The event is bursting with national pride and the crowd are getting frustrated as the 3rd round starts, local isn't putting it all on the line, audience is getting frustrated, boom local loses the 3rd round.

crowd riot

Yeah.... I am not sure I would want to be in attendance at that point, I mean it works for other sports but the crowd dynamic is somewhat different with other open scoring sports fans than core MMA fans.

Plus you have the safety of the judges to consider, if they make a bad call mid-fight and it is alarmingly different than the others then the focus may very easily shift onto them with some very targeted abuse, it is bad enough after the event for judges and ref's that get it wrong.

Then what if the leading athlete is ahead on all scorecards going into round 4 and suddenly does something against the rules, by accident - how many athletes on the losing side of that bout would look at the scorecards and turn down the chance of avoiding that loss, after so many months of training, fight camp, weight cut, in what is such a hard sport, by informing the ref that they can't continue? It's a temptation at least.

ufc finger poke

Or the leading athlete knows they are ahead going into 4-5 so pretty much takes their foot off the gas to preserve their body for the next gladiatorial commitment.

ufc relax

It all is pretty mind-boggling, to say the least. But like anything new, these rule changes can be tested under predictable conditions, so maybe that is the answer but ultimately it comes down to what is best for the athlete and what appeals to fans, without either, nothing really matters anyway.

A lot has been discussed over the past few years as to whether MMA fighters should form an entity that gives them more rights when dealing with promotions, if that were to happen then future decisions like open scoring should always lead with what the MMA fighters union agree from a democratic discussion and vote, all based on the opinions and experience of people that put their lives on the line for the love of this sport and all the glory it can bring.


Happy scoring

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