- Holly Holm lost a split decision to Ketlen Vieira on Saturday night
- Her team wants the judges “held accountable” even though they got the decision right
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Just about anybody who regularly watches mixed martial arts knows that the judging situation in the sport is terrible. It might not be as bad as the seemingly outright corrupt judging in boxing, but it’s really awful.
UFC fans regularly find themselves questioning the judging after UFC events, recently causing some to call for open scoring in the organization so fighters at least know in advance if they need to finish fights they believe they are winning.
For years, Joe Rogan has been calling for a change to the way fights are actually scored, advocating for a half-point system so rounds that are won more clearly are rewarded and more debatable rounds don’t count for as much.
The unified rules of MMA have even been updated in recent years to change the way fights are scored. It’s the closest thing that MMA fans have seen to an actual fix for judging and while it hasn’t improved judging performance much, it did at least have one positive effect. It helped the judges get it right during Saturday night’s UFC Main Event.
At least, that’s what myself and many others who watched the fight believe. However, Holly Holm and her team don’t seem to agree, with her camp even going so far as to state they believe the judges of her fight need to be “held accountable” for their scores.
While the overall message is correct (aside from the part about counting strikes, all strikes are not created equal), the cause of it is horribly wrong. Based on the current standards of MMA judging, Holly Holm didn’t beat Ketlen Vieira.
The main criteria for MMA judging is “effective striking/grappling” with an emphasis on the impact of that striking or grappling. What Holly Holm did in that fight wasn’t effective striking or grappling. She spent large chunks of the fight holding Vieira against the cage, not actually giving herself any advantage.
When it came to the striking, Vieira was clearly the more impactful striker in rounds 2-4. Her strikes were the ones that actually did damage. Holm’s landed, but had no impact.
Vieira absolutely deserved this win and that’s just something Holm and her team will need to figure out how to deal with.