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Old 10-27-2009, 10:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The next evolutionary step of MMA

Something I wrote up thinking about some of the bad decisions that have been happening over the past 2 years or so. This is in no way a commentary on the Lyoto vs Shogun fight, but the arguments over judging did help inspire it.

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The next evolutionary step of MMA

A lot of talk and thought about MMA often goes to that next step. In the short time that MMA has been practiced we have already gone through a few phases. In both Pride and the UFC, and other smaller orgs, it started with Judo vs BJJ, Wrestler vs Boxer, and so on. We all know this part of the story as many of us were fans, and even the later joining fans have gone back and watched it. Some of these stars are still with us as they evolved from one style to many and stopped referring to them selves as wrestlers, kickboxers, etc, and moved on to being known as MMA fighters (artists). We all know the current state of MMA, for the most part it is the same, the big differences are ring vs cage and elbows vs knees. Sure there are other differences, but those are the major differences at this time.

So the next evolutionary step, what will it consist of, how will it come about, why will it need to evolve? All questions we have asked ourselves and others for quite a few years. Will the next step be fighters who can strike like Anderson Silva, use avoidance like Lyoto Machida (couldn’t avoid Shogun though), granite like clinch like Dan Henderson, wrestling game like Randy Couture, BJJ like Demian Maia, and so on? I don’t think so. I think as far as fighters evolve we aren’t going to see many stars having more than 1 of these traits. Sure there will be exceptions to this, but for the most part fighters either like it standing or on the ground and they tend to spend most of their time trying to figure out how to make it happen. As far as fighters go I think we are going to start seeing a blending of standing and ground work respectively. We are going to see more people mixing sambo, BJJ, and wrestling into one giant ground game utilizing techniques from all to get the fight to the ground and to keep it there. We are going to see MT, boxing, kickboxing, and karate mixed into this whirl of knees, elbows, punches and technique that is going to become the new science of striking.

But I do not believe that is the next evolutionary step, and even though it is already started I predict we have another 5-10 years before we start seeing them in most of your average B+ fighters. The next evolutionary step for MMA will be the scoring/judging system. Time and again fights happen where it seems clear to fans and even promoters that the wrong fighter was crowned the victor. Whether this comes from a fighter on top position on the ground just holding onto someone, referred to as Lay ‘n Pray, while the fighter on the bottom throws submissions from every angle, or even when 2 strikers go at it and at the end it seems obvious who landed more strikes and more technical strikes. The 10 point win system was a great solution for what it needed to be at the time, an easy to follow scoring system that everyone knew. It was a patch for a small hole, but the hole isn’t so small anymore. The hole is now causing problems again it is clear the patch won’t hold much longer.

Now I am not writing this to propose what the new scoring system should be, I am writing this because I am pretty positive many others feel like I do. We need new rules that take submissions into account, activity on the ground, who is really in control of the fight contrary to what position they are in (Maia pulling guard to get the fight to the ground), effectiveness of strikes (did they cause damage or were they thrown for points), overall damage, and overall control of the fight. Including a lot of these things into a new scoring system will be very difficult, especially to train people who judge boxing fights to all of a sudden use a new and completely different system. And lets be honest, even with a new system sometimes the wrong person in the fans eyes will win, but that leads into my overall point.

My overall point is this; the next evolutionary step of MMA will be how the fighters change their game to the new scoring system. New wresters to the sport will find the they will try to lay ‘n pray on their opponent, but their opponent throws 5 submission attempts, completely prevents them from posturing up and throwing any meaningful strikes and throw some punches from the bottom. At the end of 3 rounds the wrestler has lost a 30-27 decision and the fighter on the bottom was no longer concerned with having to sweep or cage walk if they didn’t want to. Think about how many fights would go differently if that system was used. Another example would be when two strikers face off, one throws pitter patter punches that have no power and produce no damage, his opponent lands less punches but when they land the damage and intent behind them is seen. What if overall damage ends up giving the bomb thrower the win? Think about some of our current favorite fighters and how it would change their fighting style in the future, think about some of their fights they won that using a new set of rules would cause them a loss. I won’t mention specific fighters here as I don’t want this to get derailed, but it is easy for me to imagine a couple of my favorite fighters already being cut because the new rules would no longer favor their style.

Would the new system have its negatives? Sure, any system is guaranteed to have its flaws, but it will be a system built for MMA, not for boxing. Will some fighters protest it? You can bet your sweet ass they will, but just as many if not more will support it. For the most part almost every fighter has had at least 1 fight lost due to a decision they didn’t agree with, and it probably won’t change for really close fights. But for most fights it will be clear why each fighter won, and as much of the MMA sport will be considered in it. I also think rules like ‘overall damage’ could lead to more fights being finished as each fighter tries to make every punch count. As we have all seen, fights can be finished in the final round via KO, but most strikers go into ‘point’ mode and just try to win the round as they are border line gassed.
What do you think?
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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what mma needs more then all of this is real former MMA fighters and analysts that have been training, particapating or watching the sport for 10 years plus and are dedicated to strictly judging MMA. That alone will help tremendously, but i also agree that a new system is needed, but it's so hard to get all the parties that would need to be invovled to sit down and get it done, so getting better judges would be a quicker fix (not happening tho, athletic commissions love their cronies).
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdtcpl View Post
Something I wrote up thinking about some of the bad decisions that have been happening over the past 2 years or so. This is in no way a commentary on the Lyoto vs Shogun fight, but the arguments over judging did help inspire it.



What do you think?
Why would a judge be able to implement this system? Yay lets make a super complicated judging system, that will solve the problem. Essentially you are just finding someone to blame, and demanding they do it better. A far better proposal would be no judges, if neither wins it's a draw, if a fighter is running away and not being aggressive at all, disqualify that fighter.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by name goes here View Post
Why would a judge be able to implement this system? Yay lets make a super complicated judging system, that will solve the problem. Essentially you are just finding someone to blame, and demanding they do it better. A far better proposal would be no judges, if neither wins it's a draw, if a fighter is running away and not being aggressive at all, disqualify that fighter.
I am big time in favor of yellow cards like they use in Japan. There is a diffrence between being elusive and running away, the latter should be punished monetarily, if money wont make someone fight then nothing will.
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by joshua7789 View Post
I am big time in favor of yellow cards like they use in Japan. There is a diffrence between being elusive and running away, the latter should be punished monetarily, if money wont make someone fight then nothing will.
Theoretically I am too, but I have a hunch that the more complicated the scoring system, at least over here, gets, the more opportunity there will be for it to be misused or abused.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by name goes here View Post
Why would a judge be able to implement this system? Yay lets make a super complicated judging system, that will solve the problem. Essentially you are just finding someone to blame, and demanding they do it better. A far better proposal would be no judges, if neither wins it's a draw, if a fighter is running away and not being aggressive at all, disqualify that fighter.
It will be more complicated, sure, but MMA is a complicated sport. The current scoring system was great for what it was, but MMA is too big now for such a simple system. Ultimately the system could still be a 10 point system, but they need to change what counts for points and how much credit you get for what action. As it is right now takedowns and top control get you way too much credit, same with punches for points. The problem is that the current system doesn't reward people who are trying to finish the fight, such as people throwing submissions from the bottom, people throwing and landing bombs that hurt, or any of that. Now I credit DW in the UFC for offering bigger and bigger bonuses to try to encourage this, but still some people just see the win in any way possible, even if it means playing it safe and never really engaging.

As for 2 fighters that can't finish each other, it happens sometimes. We need decisions to determine who won, who actually was trying to fight, who was winning it. Take Fitch vs GSP, we all know GSP won, no doubt, but Fitch is a gritty guy and GSP could just not put him away. A decision was deserved in that fight.

A new scoring system does need to be implemented, but it can still be a 10 point system, just change what is credited for points and how much it is weighted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joshua7789
I am big time in favor of yellow cards like they use in Japan. There is a diffrence between being elusive and running away, the latter should be punished monetarily, if money wont make someone fight then nothing will.
I agree as well that a yellow card system needs to be implemented.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Any different criteria for points would have the exact same probs we have now - just differently.

A complicated scoring system is beyond the capacity of a bunch of low paid unrecognized judges.

GSP are likely to face each other again soon anyway - also I'm sure GSP could put him away if he was willing to risk it, if it was in his interest to do so.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Any different criteria for points would have the exact same probs we have now - just differently.

A complicated scoring system is beyond the capacity of a bunch of low paid unrecognized judges.

GSP are likely to face each other again soon anyway - also I'm sure GSP could put him away if he was willing to risk it, if it was in his interest to do so.
It is possible that it could have the same problems, but it is also more likely to not. A new scoring system designed for MMA would allow fighters to fight a more complete game. Currently fighters can't utilize their complete game if their opponent is just going for points, it turns into a point game. In a system where submission attempts counted towards points then fighters would get credit for attempting to finish the fight by going for arm bars, etc, instead of being punished for someone just laying on them causing no damage.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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They don't really need a yellow card system. Just have the refs warn them and then deduct a point for stalling / running / not engaging whatever. This would solve most of the problem. Being deducted a point in a 3 round fight is huge.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well if you compare Pride and UFC.. they had different rules and scoring systems.. Then look at the early clashes when a Pride of UFC fighter crossed over.. It usually went badly for the fighter moving over.. The in ring styles develop to fit the rules. I was reading in Ironmans training log he was discussing Judo's ground game with another and they were comparing how in Judo peopel have a tendency to turtle up.. which to a BJJ guy is like saying.. "Please submit me I am not worthy" but in Judo makes perfect sense as it will get the fight stood back up. Hence the rules dictate how the fighters react.. In judo you do away with the stand ups... you'll see fighters quickly learning submisison defense and working thier guards and such.. while some do.. may judoka have little to no real ground game compared to a BJJ guy.. In MMA the same would happen.. if the only way to win was to finish your oppoent.. you would see more agression in teh ring and the like.. Re working the scoring system would certinly effect the action in the ring.
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