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Doc Hamilton Changes His Mind About Machida/Rua Scoring

Mauricio Rua Lyoto Machida UFC 104
(Well, clearly Machida is controlling where the post-fight celebrations are taking place.)

Following the UFC 104 title scrap between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua, we were fairly shocked when the scores came back unanimously for Machida. Wasn’t Shogun the aggressor during the majority of the fight? Didn’t he land more strikes? When it came time for the judges to explain themselves, we learned that leg kicks don’t end fights, so you might as well not count them at all. But at least one judge from that night is having a crisis of conscience. From Yahoo! Sports (via Fightlinker):

[Nelson "Doc"] Hamilton was one of the three judges who controversially scored that fight 48-47 in favor of Machida. Yet after watching tape of the fight, Hamilton now believes Rua was the winner. “There was a round in that fight [Round 4] where my line of sight while they were standing was blocked,” said Hamilton, who feels TV monitors for judges would solve the problem. “Because of the angle where most of the round was fought, I couldn’t see the punches and whether they were landing. If the fight had been on the ground, I could look at the big screens, but this was a fight where the blows were coming one at a time and you don’t want to look away and miss an important blow.”
When Hamilton saw the fight again, he noted that viewers saw Round 4 from a completely different perspective that he did…based on what he couldn’t see from his cageside vantage point, he believes Rua won the round.

Besides the addition of TV monitors, Hamilton is also in favor of tweaking the 10-point-must scoring system:

Hamilton proposes a scoring system based on breaking the scoring down to half-points, where a close round, a solid win, a dominant win and having the opponent on the verge of defeat could all be differentiated. Under this system, if a fighter wins a round that’s difficult to call, it gets scored 10-9.5. When it’s clear that one fighter won the round, it’s 10-9. When a fighter dominates the round but doesn’t have his opponent in bad shape during the round, or if a fighter does major damage but the opponent gets a degree of offense in, that would be a 10-8.5. A 10-8 round or lower would be similar to how things are scored today.

So, two things…

1) Can we finally put an end to the ridiculous notion that the judge has "the best seat in the house"? That line has long been used as a rebuttal to outraged fans whose opinions are apparently worthless because they weren’t actually at the fight. Forget the fact that us fans watch the fights on high-definition screens, with the benefit of multiple camera angles, whereas judges are squinting over from cageside at things that they rarely have the best sight-line on. Most of the time, the view from my sofa is far better than the view from the judging table.

2) The use of half-point scores is clearly not the answer. "If a fighter wins a round that’s difficult to call, it gets scored 10-9.5." Well how do you know you’re giving the right fighter the 10 score if it’s so difficult to call? Judges would probably make a lot of the same mistakes under this system, but they’d be doing it with fractions. A better solution is more 10-10 rounds — if you can’t decide which fighter won the round, then call it a draw instead of relying on guesswork or gut feelings. A 10-9 is supposed to be awarded when one fighter clearly wins a round, but that’s not how it’s always used. Unfortunately, MMA judges are often too scared to drop the double-10:

Another inherent problem is that while judges are told they can give 10-10 scores, they also believe if they do so with any frequency, they won’t be asked back. “I’m not going to die on that sword,” said Hamilton.

Completely understandable, buddy. Careers and titles hang in the balance, but you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your cushy job of watching fights and awarding winning scores to who-the-fuck-ever.

Cagepotato Comments

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moneytree- December 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm

This is a wild site i like it. I will rss feed your site
ghostboner- December 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm
@ steampunk22 - Hey great job on looking it up. You must be the least lazy dude on here. I didn't even look it up, but I would have shat myself if there was a 10-7 round. And you are right they should have been straight 10-0 scores. Or rather he should have been DQ'd in round 2 for avoiding contact.

@macreadysshack - be careful with that thing. You don't want your ghost sperm swimming up some ghost vag, you could end up with some unexpected little spooks running around.
Goat- December 28, 2009 at 7:09 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong (as I probably am) but isn't the UFC under a 10 point "must" system? (I've heard Goldie say this on a few occasions...although that doesn't mean much) And the judges are not even able to give 10-10's to begin with?

If this is the case, then the problem lies with the commissions and their league of decision-makers. Hamilton is exempt from responsibility, and simply stating what he can and cannot do.

If this is not the case, then yeah, eff him for being a pussy about it. A pussy who has a cool job he doesn't want to lose in a shitty economy, but a pussy never-the-less.
steampunk22- December 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm

The Starnes/Quarry fight was scored 30-24, 30-26, 30-27. So the lowest scoring was 10-8 on average, which is FUCKED. I never actually bothered to look that up, but holy wow is that ever messed up.
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm
That just gave me a ghostboner.
ghostboner- December 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm
Why the hell do we have 10 points when only the last 2 ever get used??? When has anyone ever got a 10-7 or a 10-6 or below? Has anyone ever seen it happen in professional mma? Even if you get absolutely owned the worst you can expect is a 10-8. Anyone remember the score on the Kalib Starnes vs Nate Quarry fight? Why don't we go to a 2 point system with the winner getting 2 points? Or better yet the judges just call every round a win loss or draw?

I agree with Cp in that the judges need to call more 10-10 rounds. However, I am also glad that Doc spoke up. It is bullshit that he has to worry about falling on his sword by calling the fight the way he saw it. The only reason he should have to worry is if he is completely uninformed and repeatedly making flagrant bad calls.(Cecil Peoples) To me having the Athletic commission influence him, by discouraging him from scoring the fight accurately, is unethical. Maybe not on the same level as fixing fights, but still unethical. And the politics behind this would not be discussed or brought to light if he does not pipe up about it.
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Haha, yeah, no douchers or that guy who uses ridiculous latin and lawyer-ese BS to hide his lack of critical thinking skillz!

Huzzah for today!
Organ Donor- December 28, 2009 at 3:07 pm
@steampunk: lick my balled area
steampunk22- December 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm
@Organ @Macready

Maybe getting balled by CP ain't so bad? It would be Mr. Sexy Fowlkes after all! Even if he does sort of look like the Alien wearing the Exterminator's skin from the first Men In Black.

This was a strangely polite thread, kind of nice actually!

Hurray for fights on Saturday!
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm
LOL Organ Donor
Organ Donor- December 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for the disgusting mental image of CP* balling my mother.

Paternity or not, CP* definitely balled me. That's enough to make me want to ball.

*due to an unfortunate coincidence, Cage Potato and, pardon the expression, Cecil Peoples share the same acronym. The above CP refers to, pardon the expression, Cecil Peoples.

macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 11:36 am
@Organ Donor

Is Cecil Peoples your father?

If, so, you WERE molested by him.
Organ Donor- December 28, 2009 at 11:20 am
I like the diversity of judges idea. Maybe it should include some current or former pro MMA fighters.

I won money on the Machida vs Rua fight, but nonetheless was left feeling vaguely like I had been molested by my father.

csuders- December 28, 2009 at 11:18 am

more judges would be a good thing, averaging more scores together would minimize the mistakes of any one judge. Maybe 5 or even 7 judges would be a good thing.

But lets not forget the Machida v Rua fight was a unanimous decision, its not like it was a close split, every single judge at ring side thought Machida won. not disagreeing, just saying.

robthom- December 28, 2009 at 11:07 am
@ csuders,

I think thats why I always assumed that the judges had monitors.

The commentary booth has monitors!
denver_rolling- December 28, 2009 at 11:06 am
I saw on some website awhile ago an idea to add more judges.

I think his idea was to have a grappling expert, a boxing expert, the ref's decision, + 4 standard judges all having an equal voice in determining the winner. The panel's majority (there would have to be one) would dictate the loss/win/draw.

I thought that was the best idea i've seen for awhile. I mean really, how much can you pick apart the point system itself. 9.5-10? 9-10? Why not make it 1000 pts so you can rate a round 914 to 1000 to be really REALLY accurate. It can only be so good with points. Get a bigger panel and wider variety of experts!
csuders- December 28, 2009 at 11:04 am
@ Organ Donor

Bah! BALD! Ya happy now? I'm still hung over from the past week. Its lucky I'm even at work to surf CP!
Organ Donor- December 28, 2009 at 10:39 am
"[Dana White] is the balled guy."
- csuders

Does that mean he has balls, or got balled?

- submitted by Organ Donor in the absence of anything useful or enlightening to say.
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 10:35 am
@ csuders: Nice.
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 10:34 am
+1000 for polite and intelligent discourse.

+1000 for shin kicking people in the face.

Damn, we have it all.
csuders- December 28, 2009 at 10:33 am
kudos for admitting when you're wrong. i agree that .5's would be stupid, and the AC needs to let them judge a round 10-10 without any flack.

as far as monitors, DW is the freaking president of the UFC and has just as good a seat as the judges. ever notice him in the background during a fight? he's easy to see, he's the balled guy in the expensive suit, and all you see is the top of his shiny head cause hes always looking down at the monitor by his feet, even if they're trading blows right in front of him!
macreadysshack- December 28, 2009 at 10:29 am
@Steampunk22 Yeah, it could be done SO much better! I wonder if he'll get an ass-chewing or just outright fired for saying what he said.

Agreed on this all being sketchy territory.

These commissions won't tolerate chinks in their armor so I wouldn't be surprised if Hamilton is out of a job.

Big John . . . Yes.
robthom- December 28, 2009 at 10:28 am
"Judges don't have monitors??? ..."

I thought that same thing. I never really watched the judges, I just assumed that they did.
robthom- December 28, 2009 at 10:23 am
I agree with having monitor feeds from all the cameras available.
I'm also glad we finally got replay, despite mazz immediately charging in from the yard to lift his leg and spray it.

I dont really get the half points deal though. It might just over complicate things.
I dont want to think about the trouble we'd be asking for by arming cecil peoples with decimal points.
steampunk22- December 28, 2009 at 10:22 am

Well we definitely agree that is in awkward step. I think thats sort of my problem with it, although maybe it has to start somewhere.

I dont think discourse is a bad idea, it almost never is, but I would just like to see it done correctly I guess. You know, with the people that actually get to MAKE the decisions.

If Hamilton wants to balls up and talk shit about the way things are run, he should do his part by judging fights PROPERLY without his personal interests determining the results. Thats the real problem that I have with his statements. All glory, no guts. I get that he's probably got a wife and kids and all that, but he's involved in a billion dollar industry, in fact, he DETERMINES THE OUTCOMES OF FIGHTS BY JUDGING THEM. He is admitting that he lets his personal feelings alter the way he casts his score, in a sport that people GAMBLE on. This is pretty sketchy territory.

Somethings gotta give. I guess employing judges that are passionate about their work is out of the question....

God I miss Big John.