Let’s face it. Sometimes referees let fights go on too long, or not long enough. Judges score the fights in bizarre ways often being the only ones who saw the fight for the winner on the scorecards. Here are the top 5 ways to fix MMA officiating.
BOXING AND WRESTLING
In some, if not most states the judges, timekeeper, and other event staff are hired by the commission because of their prior relationships. Judges specifically are often old boxing judges or promoters, and sometimes pro wrestling promoters who went out of business. This practice will continue because if you have ever been around a commission then you know they often power trip and puff their chests out if challenged on anything of circumstance. Maybe removing corrupt, power hungry commission members should be priority one? I’m talking to you southern states… This might stop them from hiring their boxing and wrestling buddies and putting the careers of MMA fighters in their hands.
This one is tricky. If you were to put MMA veterans as judges, like a Rich Franklin, who could be impartial and fair we would all be better off. Guys like Rich are dedicated ambassadors to the sport. Some fighters might hold a grudge against a younger fighter because they represent a once rival fight team, or their coach is an old rival. It would be hard to distinguish the two, but here’s a suggestion. Select veterans who never fought in a specific organization. Example: Bellator veteran as a judge in the UFC and vice versa. It could work if they were thorough in their selection process for judges.
Veteran fighters are used to being in precarious situations in fighting. They could sense, see, and know when a fighter is in jeopardy, and when a fight should be called off better than guys who go to a school. After the non-fighters go to a short ref course they jump right in to stepping in the cage. Scary.
The use of an international commission would take the power away from some of the the locals who might not have the sport’s best interest in mind and give a bigger selection pool to choose from. They would be able to pull the best officials from a worldwide collection of experts. I cannot stress enough how states could use this and you can ask one of the best commission members in history I know who would probably not like his name used. He welcomes any and all improvements regardless of position, stature, nationality, background, or reputation. As long as you can get the job done correctly he will consider your involvement. There are other states that are content with keeping things close to the belt via the good old boy network.
Five judges. I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. Five round fights are easier to judge than three sometimes because in a close fight you often have an easier time scoring, mainly because the championship rounds are when fighters pull away from their opponents. To judge only three rounds is harder. Less to choose from and they are often much closer than five round bouts because there is less fatigue. There is always one judge, that guy, who gets it wrong, like bad wrong. Five judges would nullify that. Three of them would get it right while you can bet two would get it wrong. Majority wins in this situation.
STRICT AND STRAIGHT
All judges and officials should have to intern with someone in their position. Judges should score fights alongside an established judge. After the fight they would compare and discuss. Both might learn something from the other. A ref should watch tapes with an established ref and ask questions, give his take on when a fight should be stopped, or things of that nature. Then, they would attend a month of events and do the same with live bouts. They need to make sure these people are trained properly.
Hit or Miss?