MMA Judging is Inane

7 Sep

Imagine a world where getting into the redzone was worth more than a touchdown; where getting a runner into scoring position was worth more than actually scoring. Welcome to the world of mixed martial arts, where a fighter putting himself into a position to inflict damage is often rewarded over actually inflicting it.

Wrestling is mixed martial arts version of ball control. The superior wrestler dictates where the fight takes place. In football, a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers keeps possession of the ball with their running game in order to limit opponents like the Indianapolis Colts from using their aerial assault. This is similar to how the superior wrestler keeps opponents desiring to strike against the fence or on their back.

Combatants should be able to use every legal means to win a fight: If a fighter cannot avoid being controlled, he deserves the disadvantages that come with it. What mixed martial arts judging mismanages is the valuation of stalling and favorable positions.

A fighter does not deserve points for failed takedowns or favorable positions where he does not inflict damage. To put it bluntly: Hitting an opponent in the face hurts him, and failing to secure a guillotine tires the fighter attempting it more than it damages the fighter receiving it. If a fighter hits his opponent with a flying knee, and then is wrestled to the ground, held there for the rest of the round without receiving damage, why is his action and his opponent’s inaction rewarded similarly? Jon Fitch is not the enemy: He’s given an assignment, and he finds the most effective way to accomplish it. Besides, as unaesthetic as his approach is, Fitch may stall the action, but he still inflicts more damage than his opponents do. The problem is a system that rewards position over performance.

Fighters, for the most part, behave rationally; their primary incentive being victory. If the rules allowed for groin strikes and fish hooking they would enact these tactics in order to win, and who could really blame them. If the judging of takedowns and top control were properly valued, than stalling a fight would become ineffective to victory. Risking losing possession to attempt a submission would gain value because being in an unfavorable position wouldn’t lose you points unless your opponent actually effectively used his positional advantage. Until then, fighters with inferior skills will continue to out point fighters who have styles that are valued inferiorly.

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One Response to “MMA Judging is Inane”

  1. the self-hating hipster September 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    At least Jacare couldn’t do his typical takedown to take the round followed by unproductive side control bullshit last Saturday.

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