Growing up a fight fan I watched combatants enter the ‘ring’ every Thursday night. There were times when the decisions handed down by the three judges would cause my Dad to grunt in both disbelief and dismay. Fights are scored by three separate judges who are seated at different places around the ring, the judges use a 10-point must system – the fighter who wins a round is awarded 10 points and the opponent receives 9 unless he/she are knocked down and then they get 8. Points are tallied and the winner is announced – ideally that’s the way it should work – the best fighter wins. Over the years there have been many unusual decisions leading to controversy and of course rematches.
In the early 90s a new brand of combat sport was introduced – Mixed Martial Arts. This took fighting in a new direction – it was brutal to watch in the beginning as some very skilled fighters took on others who appeared less than capable. Gradually the skills, techniques and match-ups of different fighters evolved into what we see today – a complex blend of boxing, wrestling, judo, jiu jitsu and more. It’s exciting to watch and the sport has grown to rival professional boxing in viewership and fans.
Step forward one avid fan – Danny Edwards, a Bakersfield College Journalism teacher and admitted stats junkie. Edwards is making a push to rid the 10-point must system from MMA, “Imagine that your favorite NBA team played a game and no score was kept. Instead of points … judges were used to provide subjective evaluation of which team won each quarter.” Edwards has devised a points system for MMA that scores fights based on particular punches, kicks, holds and moves on the ground – plus a fighter can lose points. Edwards employed his new system while scoring near a year’s worth of MMA bouts – his findings are fascinating. His work also lead to a fighter ranking system based on the statistical data compiled from various bouts. This Spring Edwards has self-published all this collected data with a number of compelling arguments in a magazine titled MMA:SCORED. Disclosure here: I was commissioned to illustrate parts of the magazine including the cover. However, if you have an interest in fight sports you might want to check it out.
For more see his website: scorethatfight.com