If you're one of the many, many MMA fans who have complained about the scoring of an MMA fight, you may have some recourse soon. The Association of Boxing Commissions, the national group all state commissions belong to, have made suggestions to changes in the scoring system.
While they don't advocate moving away from the 10-point must system, where the fighter who wins the round earns 10 points, they do offer clarification to what wins a round.
1. Effective defense is removed as a criteria.
This makes sense. There are few situations in sports where defense scores points without becoming the offense first. A safety in football is the only of the big four American sports. The inherent job of defense is to prevent the opponent from scoring points. Good defense should set up a good offense in MMA.
2. Striking and grappling are now given equal weight in scoring. From the ABC's suggestions:
The old scoring system rewarded striking (as a primary consideration) more than grappling. Mixed Martial Arts is based on two skill sets - striking and grappling. The committee felt that grappling should not be a secondary factor in determining the outcome of a match. Grappling has a definitive skill set and athleticism and offensive capabilities which when used correctly can effectively end a fight. As such grappling skills should be rewarded and given equal weight to striking.
Grapplers everywhere will dance with joy if this change is passed. Jeff Curran's loss to Takeya Mizugaki and Miguel Torres' loss to Demetrious Johnson might have turned out differently with this provision in place.
3. Replace "damage" with "effective." We can assume the committee meant effectiveness, because who wants to replace a noun with an adjective? In short, the committee wanted a term that didn't make them feel so icky.
1. The legal considerations surrounding the term "Damage" as a descriptor were given considerable weight and as such the committee felt that using the word "Damage" may contribute to the potential for liability in the event of any litigation that commissions may find themselves involved in.
2. The sport of MMA is still relatively new and has not received sanctioning in various jurisdictions. The committee felt that "Damage" as a descriptor may play a factor in helping to determine future sanctioning if the term was taken out of context with many opposed to MMA as a sport.
This would also prevent the ineffective argument from fighters at post-fight press conferences who point to cuts and bruises on their opponent as proof of winning.