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CSAC’s Armando Garcia on Illegal Blows and MMA Scoring

(The continued search for the elusive ‘back of the head’.)

The California State Athletic Commission takes a lot of heat for its handling of MMA affairs, on every topic from fighter licensing to drug testing. Executive Officer Armando Garcia, the head honcho over there, spoke with about some of the big issues in MMA these days, including the disputed region known as the back of the head. So where does Garcia stand? Mohawk rule? Earphones?

Armando Garcia: That is easy. The same as boxing. From the back of one ear to the back of the other ear. I’m in complete opposition to the ‘mohawk’ concept for back of the head fouls. Our Physicians support our position.

Illegal blows to the head are devastating. Ask Gerald McClelland.

For those of you who don’t know, he’s talking about this Gerald McClelland.

This is an interesting insight into how Garcia views MMA and its rules, coming from a background as boxing referee. The ‘headphones’ definition works well for boxing, because there’s no situation where you naturally end up behind an opponent without the fight being halted and restarted. Not so in MMA, where taking an opponent’s back is fairly common. Apparently that difference between the two sports doesn’t matter in California.

Garcia also discusses his views on how the ten-point must scoring system works in MMA, and what about it might be reworked to fit the unique demands of the sport: What do you think about the 10-point must system being used to score MMA fights? Should there be a change in the scoring system more towards a PRIDE-style system where a judge picks a winner after three rounds as opposed to individually scoring each round?

Armando Garcia: We’ve beat the whole scoring system up pretty badly in both boxing and MMA. I think what we need is consistently competent judging not so much a new or modified scoring system.

With that said, we should move to address the differences of a 10-9 to a 10-8 round. We’re dealing with shorter fights in MMA. There’s both sides, a 10-8 is huge in a short fight while the differences in 10-9 rounds (routines to close to dominant) are more visible.

I like our system as opposed to the old PRIDE system.

It’s a point well-made by Garcia. In a three or even five-round fight, a 10-8 round has a different effect than in a twelve-round fight, so we need to know what the criteria are. We also need to have a consistent criteria in every state, just like we need to agree on where the back of the head is and what the consequences for pummeling it should be. Ask Brock Lesnar. He’s still stewing over Mazzagatti’s call in his bout with Frank Mir.

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Bootylam!- August 5, 2008 at 7:53 pm
Why even have a "point system"? It should just be win/lose each round individually, they're 3 and 5 rounds so there can't be [ugh, the worst] any draws. How the hell do you "score" MMA without standard rules? How can anyone judge if a takedown is worth more than a near sub or a stunning or knockdown punch? Is a good leg kick worth more than a body kick or good body blow? How about when guys go down on purpose pulling guard? If the guy is attempting a takedown and that happens does it count? Way too many scenarios without enough answers, and I'm glad it's being discussed.
Anonymous- August 5, 2008 at 7:34 pm
lesnar should whine about his horrible coaches...he has no BJJ and can't throw a clean shot to save his life before he whines anymore about Mazzagatti.
gracies suck ass- August 5, 2008 at 5:58 pm
brock's right to bitch bout that shit, what 2 rabbit punches and it's a stand up with a point deduction? wtf is that bullshit? he gives him a half ass warning then just jumps on his shit. mazzagatti is a fucking clownshoes either way.
caspersghost- August 5, 2008 at 5:35 pm
Where was it stated that Gerald McClellands' injuries came from illegal blows? I watched fight his with Benn live and the announcers never mentioned anything.