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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Joe Halls scoring of the Ricco vs Nog fight
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 judgesí decision was announced. Judge 1: Nogueira. Judge 2: Nogueira. Judge 3: Nogueira.
Riccoís 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 ďtheirĒ 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 Nogueiraís 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 MaxFightingís 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, theyíre in on the collusion. Perhaps theyíre 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 itís 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 Nogueiraís subs, scored a couple takedowns and that should somehow make him the winner. Ground control or something, I donít know.
Rodriguez was also on top. Whether itís a subconscious inclination weíre not aware of or something else, itís difficult to give the guy on the bottom the nod no matter what he does. After all, we didnít 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, youíre probably still a little partial to the guy on top. I know I am, but at least Iím aware of it. And if youíre 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 wasnít so awful. (Note: I did this before making any comments or accusations.)
Then I took the time to learn the minutiae of Prideís criteria. I looked into how Pride officials developed their system, which is far different from the UFCís, 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 didnít 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 donít believe me? Letís 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
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, heíll get a mark beside the first criterion. If he sinks in an armbar, heíll get another mark.
If the guillotine isnít sunk deep or isnít 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, theyíll 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.
Letís start with No. 1, the most important criterion: effort to finish the fight by KO or submission. For each of Nogueiraís numerous submission attempts, a judge would have noted his effort to finish the fight even if it wasnít 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 Nogueiraís 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.
Letís 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 didnít do any damage either, though his kimura attempt in the third could have possibly caused some damage and warranted a mark. Letís say it didnít.
#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 didnít hold my breath for a tap during Nogueiraís 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 arenít 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 wouldnít 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 youíre reacting, youíre 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. Iíd 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 boutís beginning, Nogueira took the center of the ring and moved forward throughout the fight.
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.
Letís 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 donít believe me? Donít even start barking that the judging criteria must be off. I understand how the UFC scores their fights, too, and Prideís 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 itís not much.
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 itís not much.
The result: a draw (28-28). The result as judged by Prideís criteria: Jones wins.
Prideís 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]
Join Date: Nov 2002
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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.
Join Date: Jun 2003
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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.
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
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
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?
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