Joe Rogan has been one of many people recently complaining about the judging in mixed martial arts after several fights have gone to questionable decisions. It's not an unfamiliar topic for him at all. The comedian and podcaster has been working for the UFC since UFC 12 in 1997, and he's the promotion's star color commentator for U.S. pay-per-views.
However, some analysts are suggesting Joe Rogan isn't as familiar with the current judging criteria under the Unified Rules of MMA as he should be.
Severe MMA's Sean Sheehan shared a clip from a recent Joe Rogan Experience episode with Aljamain Sterling where Rogan discussed potential changes to judging criteria. Joe Rogan said:
"Maybe there's a way to score it where you'd give points for moments in fights where someone did damage or someone had control, but control is not worth as much as damage. Cuz you could survive control unscathed ... So even though the person is in control of you, it's not that big of a deal. But then damage. How much more is damage worth? Like you see someone gets wobbled or you see a big impactful kick. Something where you're like 'That was a significant moment in the fight,' so that would be worth more."
Sheehan added his thoughts, saying:
"Just so happens those are the EXACT changes which happened in 2016 and have vastly improved judging, with a lot of people, like Joe, seemingly unaware."
Showtime Sports' Luke Thomas added:
"It always sounds so insane to say many of the sport's luminaries and decorated fighters/coaches aren't aware of the scoring criteria, but the evidence for that reveals itself over and over."
According to the Unified Rules of MMA, "effective striking / grappling with the potential to contribute towards the end of the match" is the first criteria judges must look to. According to the rules, takedowns or changes in position are not considered effective unless they're used to establish an attack from the gained position.
While aggressiveness and octagon control are included as second and third criteria respectively, neither comes into play unless the first criteria is completely even. The rules state that the effective striking / grappling "criterion will be the deciding factor in a high majority of decisions when scoring a round. The next two criteria must be treated as a backup and used ONLY when Effective Striking/Grappling is 100% equal for the round."
Hear Sean Sheehan break down the MMA judging criteria below:
Michael Bisping defends Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier over judging controversies
This isn't the first time people on the internet have accused UFC commentators of not understanding the judging criteria of the Unified Rules of MMA. After being baffled by the scoring for Holly Holm vs. Ketlen Vieira and Eryk Anders vs. Junyong Park, a confused Daniel Cormier declared on his YouTube channel:
“Guys, this is where I don’t really understand what I’m watching in terms of the fight. Anders fight, Holm fight, both had so much control time against the side of the octagon, that I don’t know how they are losing the fight.”
Michael Bisping jumped in to defend Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier on his own YouTube channel, saying:
"Joe Rogan has been a legendary commentator for years. 'DC' brings such warmth, expertise, and knowledge to the game. Jon Anik is the best play-by-play guy in all of sports. And the knowledge and the passion more importantly he has for the sport of mixed martial arts is second to none."
Watch Daniel Cormier question the judging criteria in MMA below: