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Dana White Suggests MMA Judges and Referees Need Grappling Experience as Job Requirement

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If you haven’t done some Brazilian jiu-jitsu or a form of grappling, UFC president Dana White doesn’t find you qualified to officiate MMA.

White said on Wednesday evening that referees and judges employed by athletic commissions overseeing MMA events should have experience “rolling” before being considered for their jobs...

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Post #1   11/21/13 8:25:36AM   

Bythar

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While I don't necessarily agree that judges should have real life grappling experience, I do believe they require much more education on the various aspects of MMA so that they can better apply the judging criteria. At the same time though, the judging criteria also need work.

Post #2   11/21/13 8:49:49AM   

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says the guy that doesn't like grappling fights and just wants two fighters to just stand and throw haymakers

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Post #3   11/21/13 9:19:13AM   

Theoutlaw08

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I dont know about that. I believe they need better knowledge in ever area of MMA. The judges have been bad for a long time.

Post #4   11/21/13 9:24:41AM   

FlashyG

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No matter how much a judge trains, or studies the sport they are still going to make decisions that people disagree with.

That is the nature of subjective things like judging.

There isn't a single sport on the planet that relies on judges that doesn't also feature extensive whining about the decisions those judges make.

I think if anything the scoring system needs to be overhauled, the judges for the most part aren't the problem, they are just using a system to score fights that wasn't designed for the sport.

Post #5   11/21/13 9:28:41AM   

bjj1605

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Posted by FlashyG

No matter how much a judge trains, or studies the sport they are still going to make decisions that people disagree with.

That is the nature of subjective things like judging.

There isn't a single sport on the planet that relies on judges that doesn't also feature extensive whining about the decisions those judges make.

I think if anything the scoring system needs to be overhauled, the judges for the most part aren't the problem, they are just using a system to score fights that wasn't designed for the sport.



I disagree.

The judges are terrible in a lot of ways, sure. They get striking matches wrong too.

However, its clear to me that while they at least understand the concept of "he punched him in the face more times than he got hit in the face," they have about the same knowledge of grappling as Royce Gracie's original opponents in the UFC.

Grappling is the one area judges most need education.

Post #6   11/21/13 10:25:50AM   

Svartorm

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There are actually very few judges whom ARENT trained in grappling. The vast majority are from traditional martial arts or wrestling, with a handful of judges that are from the boxing world only, and those guys aren't assigned to MMA. You gotta remember that athletic commissions also officiate wrestling, judo and kickboxing. In Cali, they have San Shou leagues as well, so their AC does that.

The one thing I'd really like to see is for judges to have to qualify by weight class, as I don't think some of the older judges can follow the speed that lighter weights move at. Otherwise their knowledge of the sport is just fine.

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Post #7   11/21/13 11:18:59AM   

GDPofMPG

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I believe a good majority of fights these days are judged correctly, but there's always a few going against the grain. The current set up can't stop it from happening. Not if I was sitting in the judge's seat, not even if you put fighters or refs in their place. I think the judges should not watch the actual fight in front of them at all but instead, a multiple-screen or window view of what the three or four cameramen filming the fights live are viewing.

I know some jurisdictions allow a monitor cageside for judges. A monitor I'd suggest for this is either an array of nice HD tablets, all touch screens when touched in a fight signals a larger monitor to view, or a bad ass big touch screen monitor. Something big, crisp and clear.

There is capitol costs and paying people good at running the stuff but you hear people complain about judging so much, the people who have been running the biggest promotions in this sport since, the beginning I guess. If things got changed that way it would be nice a investment to have something for your event approved commission certified for judging if a commission itself didn't rent their own equipment out to promotions on their own.

I wouldn't require the judges to sit cageside either but whatever location in the arena which accommodates the ideal setting to view the fight, whether a commissioner or public witness or whoever needs to be there with them, whatever.

To take it even further I'd say allow each individual judge the ability to pause, rewind and slow motion play, for an established amount of time, all screens or windows of the fight, never one individually. It would not be a lot of extra time to view the fight either. The judges could finish watching a fight no more then a few minutes late if it was one of the very good, or bad, close fights demanding a better look.

A big part of the reason why I think the ability to control time would be beneficial is because how the heck is anyone supposed to watch Jon Dodson live and see everything the guy is doing? Fully live viewing still has the judges on trial more than if they can quickly go back to get a better look at something, sudden or quick, hell, even a sneeze on their won part, anything they might of missed during a significant moment in the fight.

The judges could at all times, quickly and easily focus their eyes on the perspective they feel gives them the best view of the fight at a given stretch of time. For me that is what drives my theory this has the potential to improve judging, even just a little.

Reform, it's the problem I see with this. It's tough to implement change and this might be too fundamental a change in the method which MMA contests are judged. It could be the kind of purists who think it's cool that umpires in baseball all have varying individual strike zones or some kind of commission or legal battle BS about bs. I think the technology exists to facilitate improvement, but not the leadership to make something happen any time soon. Perhaps that is something for a different discussion.

I want to see every effective amenity possible utilized to make the job of judging a fight easier. Three judges sitting cageside watching the fights live from three different perspectives have the potential to see three very different fights unfold, especially in closely contested fights. I think if fostered correctly, this proposal is one judges could take advantage of and score fights with a greater level of confidence in their decision.

Post #8   11/21/13 11:21:03AM   

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Posted by bjj1605


Posted by FlashyG

No matter how much a judge trains, or studies the sport they are still going to make decisions that people disagree with.

That is the nature of subjective things like judging.

There isn't a single sport on the planet that relies on judges that doesn't also feature extensive whining about the decisions those judges make.

I think if anything the scoring system needs to be overhauled, the judges for the most part aren't the problem, they are just using a system to score fights that wasn't designed for the sport.



I disagree.

The judges are terrible in a lot of ways, sure. They get striking matches wrong too.

However, its clear to me that while they at least understand the concept of "he punched him in the face more times than he got hit in the face," they have about the same knowledge of grappling as Royce Gracie's original opponents in the UFC.

Grappling is the one area judges most need education.



Hypothetically say the judges started taking BJJ classes and started more frequently awarding decisions to grapplers in ground contests, you'd then have fans of wrestling complaining about them, and pleading for them to further educate themselves about wrestling.

No matter how educated they get there are always going to be unhappy fans and complaints about judging.

Name me a single sport with judges that doesn't have extensive complaints about them.

Post #9   11/21/13 11:51:05AM   

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Posted by FlashyG

Hypothetically say the judges started taking BJJ classes and started more frequently awarding decisions to grapplers in ground contests, you'd then have fans of wrestling complaining about them, and pleading for them to further educate themselves about wrestling.

No matter how educated they get there are always going to be unhappy fans and complaints about judging.

Name me a single sport with judges that doesn't have extensive complaints about them.



They could complain but they would be objectively wrong. Wrestling doesn't finish fights. Its a tool to set things up. That's it.

And its doesn't need to be BJJ.

Thanks for organizations like Abu Dabi, grappling rules are pretty well standardized now. A Sambo/Judo/Wrestling practitioner can compete in any grappling tournament.

I agree with the above though that cage side judges is not a good idea. They get swayed by the crowd and they don't have the best view.

Post #10   11/21/13 12:08:25PM   

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Judges should be required to at least understand that just because a fighter is on the bottom, they aren't necessarily in a disadvantageous position.

Post #11   11/21/13 12:26:44PM   

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Posted by FlashyG

No matter how much a judge trains, or studies the sport they are still going to make decisions that people disagree with.

That is the nature of subjective things like judging.

There isn't a single sport on the planet that relies on judges that doesn't also feature extensive whining about the decisions those judges make.

I think if anything the scoring system needs to be overhauled, the judges for the most part aren't the problem, they are just using a system to score fights that wasn't designed for the sport.



Bingo

Post #12   11/21/13 12:34:53PM   

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In the last fight between GSP and Hendricks, if judges would have been training bjj they would all have gave rd 1 to GSP who came closer to finish the fight with his guillottine forcing Hendricks to roll on his back than Hendricks best shots some elbows in the clinch.

So a clear GSP UD 48-47 on all cards

Post #13   11/21/13 12:47:18PM   

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We should judge fights like we did in the school yard when we were kids, whoever gets the most "OHHHHH" and "AAHHHHH's" is the winner.

Post #14   11/21/13 12:53:41PM   

FlashyG

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Posted by bjj1605


Posted by FlashyG

Hypothetically say the judges started taking BJJ classes and started more frequently awarding decisions to grapplers in ground contests, you'd then have fans of wrestling complaining about them, and pleading for them to further educate themselves about wrestling.

No matter how educated they get there are always going to be unhappy fans and complaints about judging.

Name me a single sport with judges that doesn't have extensive complaints about them.



They could complain but they would be objectively wrong. Wrestling doesn't finish fights. Its a tool to set things up. That's it.

And its doesn't need to be BJJ.

Thanks for organizations like Abu Dabi, grappling rules are pretty well standardized now. A Sambo/Judo/Wrestling practitioner can compete in any grappling tournament.

I agree with the above though that cage side judges is not a good idea. They get swayed by the crowd and they don't have the best view.



It comes down to what you see as "effective" grappling. Whether it can finish a fight or not wrestling is considered grappling under the unified rules.

If I can take you down and remain on top of you without you being able to submit me, or sweep to an advantageous position of your own then my wrestling grappling was more effective than your BJJ under the current rules.

Early in the sport all the advantages in the rules went towards the grapplers, now things have swayed slightly in the other direction. I don't think the problem is with judging though, but more so with the criteria used to score fights. Making judges take BJJ classes isn't going to change the fact that winning a decision from the bottom is extremely difficult under the unified rules.

Post #15   11/21/13 12:57:13PM   
 
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