HWZ_TST_MY_BIG_TD2

A wide range of opinions have been voiced on the decision in the Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira fight.  Though I've read many logical explanations for both fighters deserving the win, I always consult with the one source that is unquestionably correct:  the unified rules of MMA.

I've been whining that simply following the suggestions in the unified scoring criteria would elicit the quickest, easiest, and most lucrative change possible.  The only change would be to stop deviating from the rules and just follow them as they're written.  Rounds two and three of the Nog vs. Bader fight perfectly illustrate my point and epitomizes why judges are over-valuing the takedown -- and in the process -- insolently defying their instructions of how to properly score a mixed martial arts contest.

Round One was all Bader.  He scored a takedown and showered down meaningful ground-n-pound that bounced Nogueira's head off the canvas.  However, the remaining rounds demonstrate a three-pronged, joint effort to completely ignore the verbiage in the unified scoring criteria.

At UFC 119, I scored the fight cageside 29-28 for Nogueira.  Because I was also furiously typing a play-by-play, I re-watched the affair again, and this is my synopsis of significant events from the second and third rounds.

ROUND TWO

All striking until 2:50 (with no clear advantage or superiority shown by either fighter)

  • Nog stuffs TD #1 @ 2:46
  • Bader lands TD #2 @ 2:15
  • Both striking on the ground, Nog gets up @ 1:43 (30 seconds ground time)
  • Nog stuffs TD #3 @ 1:24
  • Good knee (significant) from Nog @ 1:00
  • Bader lands TD #4 @ 0:57 (but Nogueira stands right back up)
  • Nog stuffs TD #5 @ 0:42
  • Nog stuffs TD #6 @ 0:22
  • Bader lands a medium-power right hand @ 0:16

ROUND TWO SUMMARY:

1.       Nog stopped four TD’s and countered with striking

2.       Bader landed two TD's; one was insignificant because Nog got right back to his feet, he was able to maintain top-position for approx. 30 seconds for the other, but no meaningful offense was mounted on the mat by either fighter)

3.       30 seconds of the fight took place on the ground, meaning that "effective striking" is prioritized over "effective grappling", and should determine the round winner

4.       Striking was close, there was arguably a slight advantage to Nog, but objectively, there was no clear winner

ROUND THREE

  • Eye poke
  • Nog stuffs TD #1 @ 4:07
  • They both exchange good shots
  • Nog stuffs TD #2 @ 3:50
  • Nog stuffs TD #3 @ 3:45
  • Clean 1-2 on the feet by Nog @ 3:40
  • Good left and knee by Nog
  • Nog stuffs TD #4 @ 3:22
  • Aggressive striking by Nog, moving forward, more efficient combinations
  • Bader lands TD #5 @ 3:12
  • Nog gets right back to his feet @ 3:06 (approx. 6 seconds of ground time clocked)
  • Nog leading exchanges with another strong knee, left hand
  • @ 2:12, it’s clear Nog is winning the striking, control, and aggression
  • @ 1:13, a good left by Bader lands, nice combo lands with medium-power
  • Nog blasts black with a left (Bader seems to show signs the strike was effective; slightly loses his balance)
  • Nog stuffs TD #6 @ 1:04
  • Nog lands two lefts, and a solid knee
  • Bader lands TD #7 during the knee @ 0:55
  • Bader doesn’t land or barely even throw on effective strike from top, but holds top position until the bell (approx. 55 seconds of ground time clocked)

ROUND THREE SUMMARY:

1. Approximately one minute of ground time in the round (55 seconds plus 6 seconds), meaning that "effective striking" is prioritized over "effective grappling", and should determine the round winner

2. Nog stuffed five TD’s and countered with striking

3. Bader landed two TD's (one that Nog gets right back up from, another where top position was maintained for one minute with no dominance shown by either fighter on the ground, both throwing and landing insignificant strikes)

4. Nog out-struck Bader with the more effective / significant strikes, landed more combinations, and slipped / defended more of Bader's punches

Here is how my friend, who is always right, says to interpret who won the round:

Effective striking is judged by determining the number of legal strikes landed by a contestant and the significance of such legal strikes.

Effective grappling is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active, threatening guard.

Fighting area control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking; taking down an opponent to force a ground fight; creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities.

Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike or takedown.

Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.

The fact that effective striking takes priority over effective grappling and control in rounds two and three seems to be lost on everyone.  Since the vast majority of the round was spent standing, striking dictates the winner.  If there is no clear winner in effective striking or effective grappling, the control category is referenced to sway the vote.  Since "countering a grappler's attempt at a takedown by remaining standing and legally striking" is designated along with achieving that takedown, nullifying takedowns are counted as control.

In rounds two and three, Nogueira outworked Bader in the takedown war by double:  it was 4-2 in the first, and 5-2 in the 2nd; and since one takedown in each round offered no advantage to Bader and no offense was mounted because Nogueira got back to his feet, the real tally for effective takedowns versus stuffs is 4-1 and 5-1.

This means in Round Two, the striking was fairly even, so control is referenced, followed by defense and aggression.  Nogueira easily wins the control section by better dictating the pace and location of the bout by imposing his will 4-1.  If that's not slanted enough, he was moving forward more on the feet (aggression) and embodying the description for effective defense ("avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks").

According to the unified rules, Nogueira wins Round 2 through control, aggression, and defense.

This also means in Round Three, where I think it was evident that Nogueria out-struck Bader, he should simply win the round on that alone.  Let's say you want to argue that both landed some strikes and neither really showed clear dominance.  Though I would disagree, Nogueira would still win by better imposing his will by winning the takedown war 5-1.  If you really want to be a pain in the ass and say Bader got two takedowns; fine, it was 5-2, and absolutely no advantage was gained or effective offense was mounted on the ground in either soiree on the canvas.

When adhering to the unified rules, the only potential argument is that Bader won effective grappling because he landed any amount of takedowns, but that blurb behind "successful executions of a legal takedown" reading "and reversals" would completely negate any advantage for Bader, as Nogueira reversed the position and got back to his feet in each round for each takedown Bader was successful with.

And ladies and gentlemen, it's that simple.  I would highly encourage those convinced that I'm incorrect to argue against me, of course, citing the absolute truths in the scoring criteria to support your opposing stance.  I am quite open to consider any mistakes or misinterpretations I've made.  I would like to add that the proactive thrust of attacking with a takedown is weighed slightly higher in the lower category of aggression, where the reactive nature of stuffing a takedown is mildly inferior by getting credit for defense, but you must justify why that miniscule advantage warrants awarding a fighter with a 25% (Round Two) and 20% (Round Three) success rate with takedowns as the round winner (while ignoring that striking trumps everything else).

Until someone can, what we have is three official judges implementing the unified rules in a way that I can't conceivably understand or logically translate from the way they're written ... and chaotic decisions and judging controversy will remain prevalent as long as this continues.

 

NOTE:  I have a list of questions out to influential New Jersy athletic commissioner Nick Lembo on the specifics of this subject, and will publish them shortly.

 

 

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Comments  

 
#1 Jackie Maden 2010-09-30 13:18
Interesting... I had the fight for Lil Nog as well, but would not have been able to break it down nearly as well as you have.
A friend of mine has a theory that the over-scoring of takedowns is simply a knee jerk reaction by the judges to accusations that they do not understand the ground game in MMA. I take it even further, and say that if that is so, they are proving even more that they just don't get it. I still look at the Grabowski vs. Barrett fight at Bellator 25 as an almost perfect example of how takedowns should be judged in MMA.
 
 
#2 Dallas Winston 2010-09-30 14:18
Thanks for the comment. The thought that glorifying takedowns as a disguise for knowledge of grappling has crossed my mind, but it's just speculation.

That's why I think finding out why a judge scored it they way he did will be very helpful. Not to lynch the guy, but just to ask, "why did you score this round for this guy" will help us truly understand what the disconnect is.

Both Kizer and Lembo have shared that there is a review process in place for judges, so I hope to find out a little more about that.

Thanks again for the read.
 
 
#3 Guest 2010-09-30 14:29
Great example, Jackie. I thought the Grabowski v Barrett judging was phenominal and was pleasantly surprised when they announced the winner.
 
 
#4 Dallas Winston 2010-09-30 15:29
The thing that's weird about Grabowski x Barret is the inconsistency.

I actually didn't "dissect" the fight according the rules as much I like to before forming an opinion with confidence, but from what I saw I agreed, but it almost seemed like too much of a drastic shift to the opposite side of the pendulum.

I think any changes that are made need to be made clear and be approached "carefully and steadily" to avoid having a negative impact on fighters and strategies. I mean, imagine how you might have a different gameplan if you knew the Barret/Grabowski judges were ruling vs. the Nog/Bader judges?
 
 
#5 Dallas Winston 2010-09-30 15:32
Jackie Maden,

Quoting Jackie Maden:
Interesting... I had the fight for Lil Nog as well, but would not have been able to break it down nearly as well as you have.
A friend of mine has a theory that the over-scoring of takedowns is simply a knee jerk reaction by the judges to accusations that they do not understand the ground game in MMA. I take it even further, and say that if that is so, they are proving even more that they just don't get it. I still look at the Grabowski vs. Barrett fight at Bellator 25 as an almost perfect example of how takedowns should be judged in MMA.



I didn't realize you were satarma. ;)

Welcome, and thanks again for the read.
 
 
#6 Jackie Maden 2010-09-30 16:02
I took off my cape and put my glasses back on to post here. My identity is still secret, right?? :)
 
 
#7 Dallas Winston 2010-09-30 16:40
Egads, don't be silly. I'm a professional journalist, for goodness sake.

*dashes off to remove your IP address from various internet-stalker forums*
 
 
#8 Guest 2010-10-01 03:17
I agree with this assessment of the match 100%. I was just discussing with a friend yesterday how i thought it was a horribly judged. For me it was like Nog's TD stuffs meant nothing.
 
 
#9 Dallas Winston 2010-10-01 09:30
Quoting Ozzh3d:
I agree with this assessment of the match 100%. I was just discussing with a friend yesterday how i thought it was a horribly judged. For me it was like Nog's TD stuffs meant nothing.


Thanks for the nod and for visiting.

This article has re-enthused another opinion of mine on MMA scoring, and that's that the fans can't agree on what/who should win, and I've received the whole spectrum of reviews on this; ranging from, "You're trolling. Die," to many being in full agreement.

I think perhaps the biggest challenge with MMA scoring is developing a system or even list of prioritized values that everyone can agree on.
 
 
#10 Guest 2010-10-01 16:42
The only clarification I would make is that when a round is primarily striking, you don't pick the winner on who won the striking. You pick the winner by who won the striking minus the net effect of what happened on the ground.

Otherwise you could end up with a situation where one guy jabs for 4:20 besting his opponent by dozens of strikes butthe other guy manages to get on top and drops nuclear bombs for 40 seconds and he could lose the round.

In other words the spirit of the rule is to award the victory to who does the most damage, not who completes the most amount of succesful techniques.
 

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