The Kansas State Athletic Commission has made available open scoring to all combat sports in 2020 and so far the results have been nothing but great according for all involved.
InvictaFC was the first promotion to request judges give score information to fight teams and the audience on a round by round basis. LFA soon followed suit. The KSAC has given the media results of the initial year of using the system and though there was a small sample size due to limited events in 2020, things are pointing positive.
The finish rates went up slighting, and fighters who were up by two points going into round 3 actually won that round 11% more. This shows the fighters are less likely to “coast” to a win.
Another blaring fact was after losing the first round, there was a 40% increase in comeback finishes in the second round.
Third round finishes was the biggest result, seeing a 28% increase when the score was tied.
The reaction from fighters that have used the scoring have been positive as well.
“I feel it brings more accountability to judges”, Kaitlin Young observed. “Everybody sees in real time what they are scoring and I would think as a judge you would need to defend that. Something about being up there and everyone can see it. I twill also help educate fans too. If they see it as it’s happening they can see why a round is a 10-9.”
Adrienne Jenkins, who was a fighter and now a referee and judge, has some experience with open scoring. At an event she was judging in Mexico, they local commission happened to be also experimented with it.
“Some coaches are able to understand (judging). They would be like ‘you lost that round’ although it may look super tight. The audience may think it’s hard to pick,” Jenkins explained. “I think that would help new coaches to know what is going right in their athlete’s (performance).”
Ultimately the biggest advantage is clarity. With fans and fighters debating what counts heavier to judges in determining a winner of the round, the ability to see the scores on a round by round basis makes the sport more enjoyable and we could see better fighting overall.
“What I notice…when I started to learn officiating, if I knew as much as I did of what I am learning now as an official when I was fighting, I would have fought a lot different,” Jenkins stated. “If you really knew what the judges are looking for, I would think that would make a big difference.”