tyron woodley, ufc

"Tyron Woodley" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

How Can the UFC Combat Controversial Scoring Decisions?

Ever since the Ultimate Fighting Championship was founded back in 1993, fans of the highest level of professional fighting have witnessed some rather baffling judgments. Despite that, little has changed regarding the approach to judging. So, with that in mind, let’s consider how the UFC can minimize the chances of judging controversies.

Embracing the Latest Technology with Live Communal Fan Voting

Questionable judging has always cropped up throughout the modern history of mixed martial arts, with many believing that the inconsistencies of round scoring in its traditional form is holding back the sport from reaching new heights. Because of this, some argue that a global scoring system performed on digital platforms would more accurately reflect the actions of a fight. In that regard, the sport could seek to explore the technological developments that have, in recent years, enabled the iGaming sector to grow. For example, LeoVegas, a live casino in Canada, which offers online blackjack and many other games, has encouraged communal involvement through incentivizing participation, and that is also undoubtedly feasible within MMA scoring.

Crucially, live casino platforms such as LeoVegas are a prime example of how markets can reach new audiences through embracing real-time software. As mentioned above, there are no questions regarding the urgency at which the current three-judge system needs updating, especially at the top level of fighting, as demonstrated by contests such as Georges St-Pierre’s title fight with Johny Hendricks. As a result of that, switching to a fan-centered approach, which is already being explored through platforms like Verdict, is likely to increase the transparency of the sport’s scoring system.

Make the Path to Officiating Easier or Former Fighters

Aside from integrating digital scoring systems into the MMA community and taking inspiration from the real-time successes of LeoVegas, a live casino online, the UFC can also minimize the risk of encountering further judging errors by making the route to officiating more straightforward for former fighters. More recently, increasing numbers of athletes have turned to analyst roles, with Dominick Cruz, Michael Bisping, Tyron Woodley, and more, flourishing behind the desk. In turn, this raises the question as to why the transition to judging can’t be simplified.

tyron woodley, ufc
“Tyron Woodley” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

Having competed in the UFC during the peak years of his career, Brazil’s Ricardo Almeida turned to judging in the next chapter of his career. Despite this being only one example, there is evidence to support the suggestion that his many years of fighting significantly affected his approach to judging. Interestingly, at UFC on Fox 3, Almeida was the only judge to score the co-main event in Koscheck’s favor, with the other two judges instead giving the nod to Big Rigg. Fundamentally, this showing should be indicative of the fact that former fighters have a deeper understanding of top-level MMA that can’t be learned from just reading reports and watching tape.

Sweeping Changes are Needed, and There are Options Available

Ultimately, there are numerous avenues that the UFC could seek to go down in their attempts to overhaul their current scoring systems. While it remains to be seen whether the largest MMA promotion will turn their attentions to encouraging fan participation, as LeoVegas have done across many of their games, including roulette online, to reduce judging errors, or instead offer former fighters a more convenient route to scoring fights, there can be no doubts that something needs to change.

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