The topic of open scoring has come up recently in the MMA discourse, but UFC president Dana White has come down firmly against the idea.
White broke down many of the reasons why he is opposed to the idea in an interview on ESPN+ with Laura Sanko. First, he noted how the process takes all the drama out of the announcement of the winner.
“When we do the fights, I have an idea of who I think won or lost or whatever, but when I’m standing there with the belt, I don’t know what Bruce Buffer is going to say,” White commented (h/t MMA Junkie). “He doesn’t tell me anything. The judges tell him, the commission do their thing, they tell him, and I’m standing there waiting to hear too, so I’m just as blown away as the fans are. And I agree with you: It completely takes away the anticipation of who won the fight.”
White, then went on to note the negative impacts that open scoring could have late in fights, and how it could lead to more risk-averse 3rd rounds.
“If a guy knows that he’s up two rounds and you’re a professional fighter, you can absolutely stay away from a guy for an entire round and make the fight completely horrible,” he added. “If you already know you’ve got two rounds in the bag, guarantee if you saw your score up there, all (you) have to do is stay away from this guy for the next five minutes. That makes for a lot of bad third rounds.”
Open scoring is a system where the judges' scores are known to all the fans and both fighters between rounds of the fight. It's been used frequently in both boxing, and kickboxing, and of late there has been some discussion of its merits within the MMA space.