Kansas Commission to Offer Open Scoring Following UFC 247 Controversy

By Tristen Critchfield Feb 10, 2020
The Kansas Athletic Commission is making a big change in the wake of the judging controversy in Saturday’s UFC 247 headliner.

Kansas boxing commissioner Adam Roorbach told ESPN on Monday that the KAC will give promotions the option of having open, or “real-time,” scoring for every fight. What that means is judges’ scores will be public knowledge — for fans, broadcasters and corners — after each round instead of only at the end of a bout.

How that format is utilized will be up to the promoters that hold events in the state. They can use it for the entirety of a card, for some fights or not at all. Also, the scoring information can be distributed to select parties if desired.

"I come from outside of the combat sports world," Roorbach said. "But I've been a sports fan my whole life. It always mystifies me why the fighters and fans don't know what the score is until the end. No one has ever given me a good explanation as to why.”

The open scoring format will be put into use for Invicta FC Phoenix Rising Series 3, which takes place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., on March 6 and streams on UFC Fight Pass.

"If we can help in some way to push the sport forward in a positive direction, that's what we're about -- we'll try," Invicta president Shannon Knapp told ESPN.

Judging has been a hot topic since Jon Jones edged Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 247. While Jones earned scorecards of 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46, many watching the fight thought Reyes deserved the nod. The notion behind open scoring is that a fighter like Reyes would know what he had to do to win in the championship rounds if he had knowledge of the scorecards before each frame.

According to the ESPN report, other commissions in California and Nevada are not currently open to real-time scoring without further examination. Kansas, however, will be doing its best to make a positive change for the sport.

"Our sport is moving forward; it's not moving backward," Roorbach said. "... When you look at other sports, almost all of them are [older than MMA]. We're gonna be going through more changes over the years.”

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