I agree that things like top position and takedowns are probably awarded too much, but I think Penn's suggestion to remove them entirely is just as dumb. I don't agree with the premise that "Who came closest to finishing" should be the determining factor, because I don't believe judges are capable of determining that without well-drawn guidelines. Without giving the judges a kind of menu of scoring, they'll judge fights on things like whose face looks more busted up, which fighter looks more animated, and who talked more trash (and of course some judges will penalize a fighter for talking trash and some will reward him for it).
What's really retarded about all of this is that MMA acts as if scoring grappling matches is some inscrutable conundrum that demands that wisdom of Solomon to unlock. It isn't. We know it isn't because scoring systems for grappling matches already exist.
In NCAA wrestling you can hear the referee calling out scores as they happen - "Takedown! Blue! Two points! Reversal! Red! Two points!" - and at the end of the match the guy who had more "riding time" (a.k. top position) is awarded an additional point (yes, just 1 - controlling your opponent counts in wrestling, but only a little). You can download the 2010-2011 NCAA Wrestling Rules Book as a pdf here
for free. Apparently the people in the athletic associations who administer MMA cannot download and read a pdf. NAGA
awards 2 points for passing guard to side position and 2 points for a "full and strong submission attempt." Further...A Submission is recognized as Full and Strong when one or more of the following occurs:
-The opponent takes time to escape;
--Upon escaping, the opponent does not instantly move to an attack of his own, but instead assumes a defensive posture;
-The defender is 'In Danger'
-- the finish has the potential for completion (if a kneebar, the hips have to be placed correctly, if a choke, the neck must have been reached, etc.);
-The finish in question is not a low percentage submission (wrist lock, body scissor, etc).
And, furthermore, "Minor Advantage (1 Point) is awarded for a Submission Attempt that is significant but does not meet the above criteria."
Unfortunately, the acronym "NAGA" is very, very scary (a naga is a Hindu half-snake demon, and the word means "King Cobra" in Hindi) so the athletic commission representatives have never watched a match or read their scoring system.
Judo has a very specific scoring system also, as outlined in Wikipedia
. Sadly, it uses funny words like "ippon" and "waza-ari", which must be why the Athletic Commission people can't understand it.
The people who administrate MMA scoring should all be removed for incompetence and/or indifference. Everything they need is already out there. They either don't know that or they don't care. Either way, they're clearly unfit for the job.