It's still a very young sport and just like other competitions that are judged, mixed martial arts is going through some growing pains. There is no clear picture of what scores in the judges' minds. B.J. Penn is still steaming about his unanimous decision loss to Frank Edgar back at UFC 112. He gets his chance at revenge next weekend in Boston and doesn't plan on leaving it for the judges to decide his fate.
"The judges, as we all know, they don't know what they're doing," said Penn. "I don't think anyone should get any points for any of the grappling positions. It's all about damage and submissions attempts, that's the only thing that should matter in the fight."
So essentially Penn wants takedowns to be a scored minimally. Unless the fighter scoring the takedown does damage down on the ground or is aggressively pursuing a finish, the takedown should mean little. I tend to agree. Maybe the judges scoring one of the heavyweight fights at Bellator 25 Thursday night, got wind of Penn's critique.
Scott Barrett, a former college wrestler, put Damian Grabowski on his back for most of the first and second rounds. But when he was down there Barrett only looked to improve and then maintain the position. Meanwhile, Grabowski was very busy from his back nailing Barrett with dozens of punches. Bellator color voice Jimmy Smith had it 2-0 for Barrett going to the third. He was wrong.
After Grabowski dominated the final round, the judges surprised the announcers calling it 30-27 for the Pole. With a shocked look on his face, Barrett turned around almost asking if the ring announcer Mike Williams had read the wrong name. No, it was correct. Grabowski moved on in the Bellator heavyweight tournament and rightly so. The judges did a good job of resisting the temptation to score only based on which fighter had top control when the fight hit the deck.