UFC veteran Al Iaquinta thinks that if a universal open scoring system was implemented across MMA, it would do more harm than good.
Iaquinta has been a strong advocate for UFC fighter rights, more specifically when it comes to fighter pay. But, the former lightweight title challenger doesn’t think an open scoring system would be a good idea.
The concept of open scoring has run rampant in public discourse following the controversial fight between Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira this past weekend. Vieira won via split decision despite getting outstruck in virtually every category by Holm.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Iaquinta explained how an open scoring system would change the trajectory of a fight.
“The smarter fighter going into the fifth round doesn’t need to know the score,” Iaquinta opined. “They know the score. If their technique and their experience and everything, their fight IQ is higher than the other fighter, you’re evening the playing field by giving the dumber fighter the scorecard going into the later rounds. Or going into any round, really.
“A fighter might come out and they might’ve thought they won, and they didn’t. Now, say I know I won the fight, I might know I lost the round, he might’ve thought I lost it too but I know I lost it and so I know I need to go hard in the third. So, I think the smarter fighter doesn’t want the other fighter to know in between rounds.”
Helwani has been a strong advocate of open scoring over the past few months and feels that it’s the best solution for a quick fix to controversial judging. On the other hand, Iaquinta isn’t sold on the idea that MMA should be treated like other sports such as baseball and football where the scores are publicized.
Iaquinta also argued that the discussion has switched to just talking about scoring rather than athletes going out and trying to finish the fight. Helwani went on to point out that an open scoring system would treat judges like umpires in baseball, with fighters getting a general idea of how each judge tends to score vs. how umpires set up a strike zone.
Iaquinta was The Ultimate Fighter: Season 15 runner-up, losing to Michael Chiesa in the finale. He went on to win his first three fights in the Octagon, including over former interim title challenger Kevin Lee.
Iaquinta has gone on to have a successful career in the cage with wins over the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Diego Sanchez, and Joe Lauzon. He has lost three in a row and seems in no rush to return to fighting.
In the meantime, the debate surrounding open scoring marches on, and it’s unclear if there will be significant changes to the current scoring system in larger promotions such as the UFC and Bellator.
Do you agree with Al Iaquinta’s position on open scoring?