View Full Version : Joe Halls scoring of the Ricco vs Nog fight

08-22-2003, 06:46 PM

Maybe some people here haven't seen this, he makes a pretty good arguement.

Why Ricco Rodriguez Wasn't Robbed : :
By Joe Hall (August 18, 2003)

The stakes were high.

Ricco Rodriguez against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Two top heavyweights. Former UFC champ against former Pride titleholder -- seen by some as essentially UFC versus Pride.

World-class fighters with a history. Revenge was on the line; respect was up for grabs.

The buildup was rich, the anticipation strong, but in the end, the fight fell far short of its thrilling expectations.

After 20 minutes the fighters moved to the center of the ring and the judges’ decision was announced. Judge 1: Nogueira. Judge 2: Nogueira. Judge 3: Nogueira.

Ricco’s jaw (an unofficial judge): wide open.

Then came the maelstrom from some North American fans on the Internet.

Some felt it was so clear that Rodriguez deserved the decision, they charged Pride as corrupt for screwing a fighter from the UFC -- apparently the enemy promotion -- and giving “their” fighter the nod.

Other critics chuckled incredulously and scoffed at the decision. It was shady. Treacherous. Rodriguez had won, in their opinion, and it was obvious. Just look at Nogueira’s dreary eyes before the winner is announced, they said. How could a judge, as underhanded as one might be, award Nogueira the decision in that fight? Unbelievable.

The first mistake these critics made was to think their opinion was that of the majority. Wrong. As MaxFighting’s man in Japan Keith Vargo pointed out, the Japanese media and fans agreed with the decision. Thirty-five thousand in attendance and many, many more watching from home felt Nogueira won. That my friends is the majority.

They must be blind though, right? Or, no, they’re in on the collusion. Perhaps they’re ignorant of how to score a fight.

Or maybe the Japanese, widely considered the most knowledgeable of MMA fans, do know how to score a Pride bout? Maybe it’s the critics of the decision who formed inept opinions?

I confess that I initially figured Rodriguez probably deserved the decision. Just seemed like he stopped all of Nogueira’s subs, scored a couple takedowns and that should somehow make him the winner. Ground control or something, I don’t know.

Rodriguez was also on top. Whether it’s a subconscious inclination we’re not aware of or something else, it’s difficult to give the guy on the bottom the nod no matter what he does. After all, we didn’t grow up watching kids win fights from their back in the schoolyard.

Even if you know MMA and can comprehend the effectiveness a fighter can achieve from his back, you’re probably still a little partial to the guy on top. I know I am, but at least I’m aware of it. And if you’re mindful of your biases, you can attend to them.

As debate flared on the Internet, I watched the fight again. First, though, I went to PrideFC.com and printed a summary of their judging criteria. I watched the bout as though I were a Pride judge, and, suddenly, the decision wasn’t so awful. (Note: I did this before making any comments or accusations.)

Then I took the time to learn the minutiae of Pride’s criteria. I looked into how Pride officials developed their system, which is far different from the UFC’s, and the philosophy behind it. I researched how reversals, takedowns, submissions, escapes, damage, ground control, striking and other things are scored or not scored, and why a fight is scored by its entirety rather than round-by-round. It actually didn’t take long, though its something every MMA fan should do.

And then I watched the fight again. On the third viewing, it was clear that Nogueira had won.

Still don’t believe me? Let’s go through the criteria.

Pride judges score fights based on six criteria, which are listed in descending priority:

1. Effort to finish the fight by KO or submission

2. Damaging your opponent

3. Standing combinations and ground control

4. Takedowns and defense

5. Aggressiveness

6. Weight differences

Judges use a scorecard with the criteria listed beside accompanying boxes. They score fights by making a mark in the appropriate box when merited. For instance, if a fighter sinks in a solid guillotine, he’ll get a mark beside the first criterion. If he sinks in an armbar, he’ll get another mark.

If the guillotine isn’t sunk deep or isn’t close to finishing the fight, it may not quite warrant a mark. In that case, a judge will make a note of it instead. If the notes for submission attempts add up, they’ll make a mark in the first category. This method applies to each criterion, which is weighted in descending order. At the end of the fight, the marks, and if needed, the notes are used to determine the winner.

Let’s start with No. 1, the most important criterion: effort to finish the fight by KO or submission. For each of Nogueira’s numerous submission attempts, a judge would have noted his effort to finish the fight even if it wasn’t close to tapping Rodriguez. With as many omoplata, triangle and armbar attempts as Nogueira made, the notes would have eventually earned some marks. Some of Nogueira’s submission attempts would likely have single-handedly earned a mark, like his kimura attempt in the third round. (Escapes are not efforts to finish the fight; they do not earn marks.)

Rodriguez, on the other hand, made no effort to finish the fight. If you punch like Fedor does in the guard that would count. Pecking away body-body-head does not.

#1: Nogueira by a large margin.

Let’s move on to No. 2: damage. A mark for damage can come from a single strike, a deep submission, a hard takedown or even the accumulation of effective offense. Rodriguez failed to do any damage with his strikes. On the ground he never postured up and unloaded, never cut loose a punch that really connected.

Nogueira didn’t do any damage either, though his kimura attempt in the third could have possibly caused some damage and warranted a mark. Let’s say it didn’t.

#2: No marks.

The first part of the third criterion is standing combinations. A fighter would need to strike effectively to earn a mark in this category, but neither fighter did much on the feet. I would award no marks.

The second part is ground control. Ground control is considered achieving advantageous positions. For instance, passing the guard to side control would earn a mark. However, Pride judges view the guard -- where Rodriguez spent the fight -- as a neutral position, which, I think, makes sense.

Rodriguez was on top, but he did not pass; he did not achieve advantageous positions. On the other hand, it could be argued that Nogueira dictated the action on the ground. He put Rodriguez into several positions he did not want to be in. Even though I didn’t hold my breath for a tap during Nogueira’s submission attempts, they forced Rodriguez to defend, to move out of positions where his arm or shoulder was somewhat trapped.

Forced reversals -- when a fighter fights to avoid being reversed -- also count toward ground control. Reversals that aren’t fought or are scored off of transitions would not warrant a mark. For example, in the second round, when Nogueira swept Rodriguez, he would have earned a mark. After the sweep he immediately tried to improve position and, during the transition, Rodriguez rolled him back over. A Pride judge probably would not have considered that a forced reversal.

Even if it had counted, it wouldn’t be enough. Overall, I think the clearest illustration of ground control is the fact that Rodriguez spent almost the entire fight reacting to Nogueira. If you’re reacting, you’re not in control -- the other guy is.

#3: Nogueira by a few marks.

The remaining criteria are a little easier to score. Next is takedowns and defense. I’d give Rodriguez three marks for three clean takedowns. Nogueira gets one for the takedown that opened the fight.

#4: Rodriguez by a couple marks.

The fifth criterion is self-explanatory: aggressiveness. With all of his submission attempts, Nogueira was clearly the more aggressive fighter. He was also more aggressive on the feet. From the bout’s beginning, Nogueira took the center of the ring and moved forward throughout the fight.

#5: Nogueira.

The final criterion, weight differences, did not apply in this fight. To be taken into account, the weight difference between heavyweights must be 15kg or more.

Let’s review (keep in mind the criteria is listed in descending priority):

1. Effort to finish the fight by KO or submission: Nogueira by a large margin.

2. Damaging your opponent: No one.

3. Standing combinations and ground control: Nogueira by a few marks.

4. Takedowns and defense: Rodriguez by a couple marks.

5. Aggressiveness: Nogueira.

6. Weight differences: Did not apply.

Nogueira won, folks.

Still don’t believe me? Don’t even start barking that the judging criteria must be off. I understand how the UFC scores their fights, too, and Pride’s system is much, much better.

For one, scoring a fight by its entirety and following criteria is much better suited for MMA than round-by-round scoring. A quick example:

Round 1: Smith lands a couple more punches than Jones, though it’s not much.

(Smith 10-9)

Round 2: Jones floors and bloodies Smith, and nearly submits him with a rear naked choke. (Jones 10-8)

Round 3: Smith recovers and lands a couple more punches than Jones, though it’s not much.

(Smith 10-9)

The result: a draw (28-28). The result as judged by Pride’s criteria: Jones wins.

Pride’s system encourages fighters to fight, to really win. If you sit in the guard and try to win a decision instead of a fight, you will lose.

It is the product of trial and error, and it is the best judging system in the sport. Every fan would be wise to learn it and every promotion would be wise to adopt something similar. In the case of Nogueira-Rodriguez, it produced an accurate decision where other systems would have made an unfortunate mistake.

For comments E-mail [email protected]

08-22-2003, 07:01 PM
great article, and after giving it some thought I totally agree with the decision. Riccos fighting style in that fight is what makes for horrible fights, Nog deserved the nod.

The Ensanity
08-22-2003, 07:03 PM

08-22-2003, 07:20 PM
i agree tottally like I did before.

08-22-2003, 07:28 PM
**** Nog, **** Silva, **** pride.......

ronnie dobbs
08-23-2003, 02:00 AM
yeah that's what i said.

08-23-2003, 06:12 AM
I love this and I saw something simular like this, and from the way they score the cards it makes sense. Ricco although on the top was being controlled and his moves were predicated by Nog.

08-24-2003, 03:08 AM
I am sorry, but that article is full of ****.

Ricco won that fight, and I am going to give you my reason

Jackson vs Bustamante

If PRIDE had scored thier fight the same way, I think Bustamante won

08-24-2003, 03:11 AM
Also, that Smith vs Jones crap.....

In MMA your a lot more liking to give a round even than you would in boxing because there is so much more to judge.

In boxing, if you had a few more punches than your opponet you get the round because thats the ONLY thing your scoring.

In MMA, if one fighter has a SLIGHT edge in one area but all the other areas are even, your probably gonna see a 10-10 round

08-24-2003, 03:15 AM
I am going to end up posting like 3 or 4 times in a row here. That "article" if you can call it that, made me SO mad.

Saying Nog was in control from his back is insane. Ricco was on top, avoiding all the positions and was landing some light to moderate GnP. A look at Nogs face at the end of the night shows 20 mins of light to medium punches really add up.

Also, its a fact that in todays MMA, the fighter on top is in the dominate position. If he wasn't, why would fighters try for sweeps and reversals?

Mr. Beelzebub
08-24-2003, 06:11 PM
Originally posted by kaps
**** Nog, **** Silva, **** pride.......

Great post.

08-24-2003, 06:39 PM

The Ensanity
08-25-2003, 01:47 PM
**** Nog? nonononono

He is the man...I havent seen the fight

but I can careless if Ricco got screwed...

Ricco getting screwed= a laughing Ensanity

08-29-2003, 10:26 AM
It was close, could have gona either way........they need to havea rematch. UFC rules anyone?

Mr. Beelzebub
08-29-2003, 10:49 AM
It was certainly the most boring fight of the night. I thought it was a draw.

08-29-2003, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by The Ensanity
**** Nog? nonononono

He is the man...I havent seen the fight

but I can careless if Ricco got screwed...

Ricco getting screwed= a laughing Ensanity

HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! LMFAO @ the Ensane one!!!

09-02-2003, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Beelzebub
It was certainly the most boring fight of the night. I thought it was a draw.

And it wasn't even that boring. If every event had a fight like that as the worst fight of the night, I'd cum

Lei Tong
09-03-2003, 01:32 PM
My biggest gripe is that somehow, somewhere, useless & arbitrary submission attemmpts were given SO MUCH credit by those in charge.

I guess that makes Antonio Schembri the most aggresive fighter around.

Whoremaster B
09-03-2003, 01:45 PM
Well if your predominantly a submission fighter, it should count for something.

The Ensanity
09-03-2003, 02:01 PM
This is why i dont care:

Ricco is boring…and if your boring you SHOULDN’T be ****y, if he wasn’t boring I would care about his attitude

He is boring…this guy took a nog fight and made it boring

He is not entertain, because he is boring

Ricco is over weight…as hard as he train, he is still a tub of goo…That’s disrespecting my sport

Ricco tends to put on un-exciting fights, mostly cuz he is boring

He finished off a BORING match with a low skilled giant Ochii with a smother…The “BIG” man move.

I can go on ALL DAY…but I don’t care if he got screwed, he shouldn’t be so boring….hell, if he wasn’t boring Id bet Pride wouldn’t had let him go to UFC…

Mr. Beelzebub
09-03-2003, 04:57 PM
For the move to be called "flying knee", you must get off the ground. You know jump.

09-03-2003, 06:47 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Beelzebub
For the move to be called "flying knee", you must get off the ground. You know jump.

hahahahahaha and also at Ensanity, I agree.

09-03-2003, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by Lei Tong
My biggest gripe is that somehow, somewhere, useless & arbitrary submission attemmpts were given SO MUCH credit by those in charge.

I guess that makes Antonio Schembri the most aggresive fighter around.


Only one of thoses submission attempts came close

09-04-2003, 10:11 AM
Schembri was a bloody mess after his fight and Hamanka(?)was very aggressive.....I enjoyed that fight much more than the NogxRicco fight.......

09-04-2003, 10:15 AM
Still, when did any of Nogs submissions attemps come close? Only one, the hammerlock in the 3rd round

Are you telling me that ONE serious submission attempt wins you the fight?

09-04-2003, 10:17 AM
Nog tried to win......Ricco kinda hung out........staying in the guard and throwing baby punches doesn't win you a fight in Pride........

09-04-2003, 10:19 AM
Laying on your back, trying a submission you have no chance of getting shouldnt win you a fight either. Pride is Biased. I dont know why you guys shut your eyes to this ****......

09-04-2003, 10:23 AM
What did Ricco do to win the fight????? Answer please......

09-04-2003, 10:26 AM
1. Effort to finish the fight by KO or submission
Okay, I give this one to Nog for his Sub attempts.....

2. Damage

3. Standing combinations and ground control
Ricco won this one easy...

4. Takedowns and defense
Another one for Ricco.....

5. Aggressiveness
Ricco again....

09-04-2003, 10:28 AM
The only arguement you *****es have is the sub attempts. Ricco dominated all the other parts of the fight......

09-04-2003, 10:32 AM
1. Effort to finish the fight by KO or submission
Okay, I give this one to Nog for his Sub attempts.....

2. Damage

3. Standing combinations and ground control
Neither had anything decent standing........Being in the guard is not being in control.....therefore it's considered neutral......Neither

4. Takedowns and defense
I give that to Ricco

5. Aggressiveness
Ricco again.... ?????Sure??????Explain???I give this one to Nog...Effort to finish is aggresiveness..

Remember they are valued in descending order......so having good takedowns isn't as important as trying to win the fight.....

09-04-2003, 10:34 AM
*****es????Your the one *****ing about the decision...........I agree with it.......

09-04-2003, 10:39 AM
At the most it was a draw. Nog is one of my favorite fighters, I hate Ricco. Yet I can see the bull****, if you want to keep living in fantasy land where there are no ****ed up decisions and bias, be my guest.....

09-04-2003, 10:46 AM
We have a difference of opinion Kaps......let's leave it at that and go back to bull****ting on the OT........