Edmonton Commission Debuts 1/2 Point Scoring System at MFC 31 Tonight


Edmonton Combative Sports Commission LogoAt MFC 31, the MMA judges will be scoring the 9 bouts with a 1/2 point scoring system instead of the 10 point must scoring system, the first time the 1/2 point system will be officially used in Canada. This new judging application is being carried out officially in partnership with the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). The ABC asked four combative sports commissions, including California and Edmonton, to utilize the scoring system and report back to the ABC at the 2012 annual convention. California and Edmonton are two of the most active combative sports commissions in their respective countries.

“In Edmonton, we have two key stipulations regarding the event Friday night,” said Pat Reid, Executive Director of the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission. “We will only use COMMAND certified judges who are familiar with the 1/2 point system. We do not expect the fighters to change their fight strategies, except if a fighter feels he is slightly behind, he knows he has a better chance of coming back to draw or win, if he feels he is only a 1/2 point behind instead of a full point. As we know, being down a full point in a 3 round fight is significant for the fighter who loses the first round. Our judges have experimented with this system for the past few competitions (using the 10 point must system officially but recording scores by the 1/2 point system unofficially) and only one fight would have been affected had the 1/2 point system been applied. We would not have had a draw in one fight, we would have had an actual winner if we had been using the 1/2 point system.”

The COMMAND MMA judging course, developed and taught by Big John McCarthy, well known UFC referee from Valencia, California, is considered the most comprehensive MMA judging certification course in existence. It requires precise knowledge of all submissions, holds, techniques, positions and transitions utilized in MMA competition. Reid, who has taken part in both the judge and the referee COMMAND courses taught by Big John, is a firm McCarthy believer. He has encouraged Edmonton judges (and referees) to achieve COMMAND certification as the baseline criteria for officiating in Edmonton.

“We know Mark Pavelich will bring in world class competitors again Friday night and we know both he and the fighters expect our Commission to bring in the most qualified and experienced judges, especially if the 1/2 point system is to be utilized, said Reid, “so we not only have high expectations of our officials, so do the promoters and the fighters on the fight cards.”

While the 1/2 point system is being critiqued across North America, some of the more experienced mma instructors and trainers have expressed their own point of view on the state of judging generally and on the 1/2 point scoring system.

Jerin Valel from Winnipeg says, “Our great sport is constantly evolving and improving, I’m genuinely curious to see what the data will show in relation to the ½ point system, and the comparisons between that and our current system. This soft trial (parallel systems) will provide valuable data, similar to CAMO in California, and the other states in the USA that have committed to trial the ½ point system, for the ABC to use in its decision making.”

In response to knowing that four commissions are experimenting with the 1/2 point scoring system, Mario Yamasaki, UFC referee said,

“I have to agree with Jerin. It’s important to at least try something that could or couldn’t help the MMA scoring system. I like the idea to judge both ways until you can fully launch officially. Please let me know if I can be of any help and good luck!!”

John McCarthy, the consummate judging instructor, made it very clear that any scoring system is only as good as the knowledge and experience of the judges using it. When asked about the 1/2 point system by Reid, McCarthy replied,

“I need to clarify my position on the system and what I think needs to be done to make it an effective tool for judges. First things first, all judges that are working now or wishing to work in the future should be knowledgeable as to all elements, techniques, transitions and attacks utilized in MMA competition. It does not matter what scoring system is in place if the judges do not fully understand what they are looking at and who is the person causing the action in the fight. Judging is by nature a subjective activity, but we need to objectify as many elements as possible so the subjectivity is held to a minimum. I do believe that there are elements within MMA judging that can be helped by using the half point system, there are fights that could be judged differently with a different outcome when comparing the standard 10 point must system and the half point system, but again the knowledge of the judge sitting in the seat is still the most important aspect to any system. I hope this helps in explaining my position. If you need anything else please feel free to contact me.”


If you have any questions on the above article or any Edmonton Commission issue, email them to Keith Grienke.  Readers who provide their name and phone number will have their questions answered by Pat Reid in a future article.

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