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MMA vs. Boxing: A Judge’s Perspective

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MMA vs Boxing

The emergence of mixed martial arts (MMA) as a legitimate sport in recent years has brought with it some of the same challenges in officiating that have plagued the sport of boxing for some time. That is, the perception of non-standard judging criteria, unqualified officials and hence, controversial decisions. While it appears that many of the current MMA judges hail from primarily a boxing background and have merely transferred over to also officiate MMA, the sport of mixed martial arts is a much more diverse and complex sport to judge accurately. Unfortunately, the perception of inconsistent judging is a shared commodity in both sports.

Let’s start with boxing. When compared to MMA, on its surface boxing appears to be a much simpler sport to judge. The two combatants’ weapons are limited to punches thrown with either a left or a right. There is no striking with the legs and certainly no grappling ground game to evaluate. Within this relatively simple arsenal at a fighter’s disposal, the types of scoring punches are also rather simple to observe and evaluate: jab, cross, hook or uppercut. A judge merely has to evaluate the damaging effect of these scoring punches to his opponent so that the winner in the ring translates to the winner on the scorecards.

MMA is clearly the more elaborate and complicated of the combat sports to judge. Although it is true that both sports share some of the same rules (standardized gloves, weight classes, time limits, rounds, etc.). Not only does MMA incorporate all of the previously mentioned standing attack weapons found in boxing, but judges also have to evaluate and consider the fighters’ grappling ability, takedowns and submission techniques when the fight transitions to the ground.

This is clearly the aspect of MMA judging that receives the most scrutiny. Whereas boxing “styles” can usually be classified as either a boxer or a puncher, MMA “styles” vary considerably depending on the school of thought and training that a fighter brings into the cage. For example, your training background (i.e. Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, taekwondo, boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, etc.) can greatly differentiate your fighting style from that of your opponent. No longer can a judge simply be looking for the effect of a left or a right while the two fighters are vertical. MMA requires that a judge also look for and evaluate a fighter’s effect on his opponent from kicks, knees, elbows, holds, throws, etc.

Read the entire article here...

What is an Illegal Hit to the Back of the Head?

Hopefully this will help to clear up some confusion.  It seems that a lot of people aren't sure what "no hits to the back of the head" means in an MMA fight.  Think "mohawk" people! Also, if you keep turning your head while getting hit, and your opponent then hits the back of your head...that's on you, not them!


Old Score CardNew Proposed MMA Judging System

The current MMA Judging System is based on a ten point "must" system of scoring, with judging being based on aggression, cage control, damage, striking and grappling.  This proposal adjusts the current system, yet keeps it similar enough that it remains workable for our current judges.

Here is the proposal:

Keep the 10 points as part of the system, but award separate points for different categories.  

Similar or overlapping categories have been paired and narrowed down to just three categories: 1) Aggression and Cage Control would be considered one category worth 10 points; 2) Damage would be separated and a category of its own, worth 10 points; and 3) Striking and Grappling would be paired into a Combat category and worth 10 points.  

The judge would award 10 points to the winner of each category and 9 or less to the loser, for each round.


To further break down the system:

* If a fighter is caught in a submission and is saved by the bell it would come under damage.  
* If a fighter completely dominates his opponent and has him in serious trouble, it would come under damage if you wanted to award a 10-8 round, and the other categories scored would still be 10-9.  
* If you have a Striker versus a Grappler competing, whoever dominates the round is the one who is awarded the 10 Combat points.  
* Striker vs. Striker or Grappler against Grappler it is who was more effective that is awarded the 10 Combat points.

This is called the Aggression, Damage, and Combat System or ADC System of Judging:

These are the categories for judging boxes A=Aggression, D=Damage, and C=Combat (which covers any style of fighting). This system allows the judging boxes to include a reminder headline for scoring that simplifies the process while scoring each round. Here is an example of a scoring card:

Round 1 A D C Deductions Total
Red 10 9 10 0 29
Blue 9 10 9 0 28


Depending on the state, the totaling up of the score and point deductions can be left to the Scorekeeper or Commission representative and not the judges, which might help to ensure impartiality.

So what do you think of this proposed system? Does it have potential, or?? Please comment below!


Your Choice for Favorite MMA Referee of 2011!

This is it, ELITE MMA Referee readers and fans – the moment you’ve been waiting for:  a tally of the recent Favorite MMA Referee Fan Poll! Remember, this was not a poll of who the fans felt was the best MMA referee, but rather their favorite MMA referee.

2011 Fan Favorite MMA Referee AwardThere were 338 votes total – and the winner of the ELITE MMA Favorite MMA Referee of 2011 is:
Danielle Curzon from the U.K.!

This was a lot of fun, as after the nominations were posted, we kept a close eye on the tally and started to see the ref’s surge forward, go neck and neck, and then vie for first place!

In the end, Danielle Curzon won the Poll – so we’d like to wish her Congratulations on the Win!  All of the MMA referees who were nominated are incredible, and work hard to ensure fighters get a fair fight, with the primary task being that of the safety of the fighters. Please check back later this week to read an in-depth interview with Ms. Curzon.


The Final Tally:

 Danielle Curzon 143 Votes for a 42.3% share of the total count.

 Herb Dean 66 Votes for a 19.5% share of the total count.

 Dan Miragiotta 53 Votes for a 15.7% share of the total count.

 Steve Mazzagatti 19 Votes for a 5.6% share of the total count.

 Big John McCarthy 17 Votes for a 5% share of the total count.

 Yves Lavigne 9 Votes for a 2.7% share of the total count.

 Mario Yamasaki 9 Votes for a 2.7% share of the total count.

 Josh Rosenthal 8 Votes for a 2.4% share of the total count.

 Cecil Peoples 5 Votes for a 1.5% share of the total count.

 Troy Waugh 4 Votes for a 1.2% share of the total count.

 Kim Winslow 4 Votes for a 1.2% share of the total count.

 Nelson Hamilton 1 Votes for a 0.3% share of the total count.




MMA Ref and Judge's Workshop

CLICK HERE to Register for the Online Course!

The Online Workshop ALSO includes "hands on" activities, in order to ensure students receive not just "book" knowledge, but live experience as well. If you do not
or have not trained in at least one (or more) of the martial arts systems
that make up MMA, this course is not for you!

The ELITE MMA Referee and Judge's courses include the following:

MMA Referee Online studying and review of the MMA Unified Rules and Regulations. 

MMA Referee 10 Referee and 11 Judge's "Units" are included in the lessons.

MMA Referee A Hardcopy of the Workbooks may be downloaded and printed for use. 

MMA Referee A full glossary of MMA Terms and Techniques. 

MMA Referee 30 Videos of fighters performing real techniques, holds, submissions, and throws. 

MMA Referee Testing of the student on each Section via an end-of-unit Quiz. 

MMA Referee "Hands-on" testing of the student by a Master karate instructor or Certified Referee. 

MMA Referee Shadowing of Certified Referee or Judge. 

MMA Referee Testing of the student by having them ref or judge real fights; results must be submitted to the facilitator. 

MMA Referee A Final "100-Question" Exam (in both courses.)

MMA Referee GPA of 85% or better, required to pass the courses.

NOTE - NOT IN THE U.S.A.? MMA Referee If you're not in the U.S.A., and you want to at least learn the rules and regulations that make up the Unified MMA Rules, then this online Workshop is perfect for you! Help your country and its MMA fighters by working towards regulating MMA. When you take this course, it will help you learn what you need to know, so you can share the knowledge and information you've learned with your local country's athletic commissions. This will help to ensure the proper regulation of MMA in your country -- for the safety of the fighters!

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Who's your favorite MMA Referee?
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"Big" John McCarthy
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Herb Dean
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Kevin Mulhall
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Mark Matheny
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Troy Waugh
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Yves Lavigne

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