The topic of judging is about as prevalent as it’s been. From Ketlen Vieira’s victory over Holly Holm and Valentina Shevchenko’s successful defense against Taila Santos to Arman Tsarukyan’s main-event loss to Mateusz Gamrot last weekend, a host of results have been branded controversial in recent times.
While the debate appears split between many parties, including those who believe judges often make the wrong decision, those who see the criteria as the issue, and those who think many fans, fighters, and pundits simply haven’t educated themselves on how bouts are scored, there is one solution that some members of each side have put forth: open scoring.
The tune has perhaps been sung the most by renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, who has consistently expressed his disdain at the fact fighters don’t officially know whether they’re up or down on the judges’ scorecards.
Volkanovski: Corners Must Use Better Judgment
Now, during an interview on the YouTube channel of his teammate Israel Adesanya, featherweight king Volkanovski has given his take. While the Australian titleholder ultimately backed the system, he did suggest that the competence of fighters’ corners should negate the need for it in the first place.
“Look man, I am actually — I don’t mind the open scoring thing,” Volkanovski said. “I don’t think it’s that bad. You wanna know if you’re up or if you’re not, or something like that. But you should have a good enough corner to know that if you ain’t definitely taken a round, don’t sit there thinking that, ‘Ah yeah, we’re two up.’
“You’ve gotta have the right corner,” Volkanovski continued. “I’m lucky enough to have a corner that, even if we’re pretty comfortable we’re up, if there are rounds that are still competitive, we’re like, ‘We still want these last rounds.’”
With that in mind, Volkanovski’s support for open scoring doesn’t necessarily come from his own desire to have it for his fights, but more so to stop others complaining about falling on the wrong side of decisions, something he said he is “sick of.”
“To have that open scoring to let everyone know, and then you ain’t gonna have people crying about decisions. ‘Hey, you knew you were behind and you couldn’t do nothing about it.’ Because I’m sick of people using it as excuses,” Volkanovski said.
“So, I believe that, yeah, at the end of the day, open scoring will help with that. But it shouldn’t have to because you should have a good enough team and corner behind you that ain’t gonna put you in that position anyway,” Volkanovski concluded.
Volkanovski certainly knows a lot about tight decisions, with his rematch against Max Holloway in 2020 largely splitting opinion in terms of the verdict. That could well be the case when he returns to action tonight at UFC 276 for a third contest against “Blessed.”
Given the pair’s two close bouts previously, it stands to reason that the judges may be in for a difficult time during tonight’s co-main event.
What’s your take on open scoring? Do you agree with Alexander Volkanovski?