Critics of open scoring in mixed martial arts often point to the fact fighters that know they are winning will use that knowledge to coast to victory which will lead to boring fights. Last month the Kansas Athletic Commission, a leading jurisdiction when it comes to experimenting with open scoring, released data suggesting this is not the case.
Today, I obtained further data from Kansas contrasting several other MMA cards pre and post open scoring comparing the performance of fighters that are up in the early rounds.
The recent data looked at fights promoted by the Legacy Fight Alliance (the “LFA”). Ten cards from Texas, Minnesota and South Dakota were reviewed without open scoring. The results were contrasted with nine subsequent cards from Kansas where open scoring was utilized. The data revealed that the fighter who was up by two points by at lest two cards without open scoring went on to win the final round 57.9% of the time. On the other hand fighters up by two points on at least two cards went on to win the final round 70% of the time with open scoring. Also noteworthy that the fighter that won the first round also won the second round 69% of the time without open scoring. With open scoring, they also won the second round 77.8% of the time.
With almost 80% of fighter’s polled by The Athletic in support of open scoring the Kansas data may prove influential in having other regulators adopting the practice.
The data to date suggests that open scoring does not lead to the primary concern raised by many critics.