WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) met
Wednesday morning in the nation’s capital, wrapping up their
five-day convention with a morning dedicated to mixed martial
Tennessee Athletic Commission Executive Director Jeff Mullen, who
also serves as the chairman of the ABC’s committee on MMA scoring,
discussed the past year of his unit’s work to adopt a version of
veteran official Nelson “Doc” Hamilton’s half-point scoring
Backed by his fellow members, Mullen outlined some problems the
committee had with a pair of planks in Hamilton’s proposed
Mullen stated that the idea of having a referee call “catches” --
the grappling equivalent of a knockdown -- would take away from his
primary focus of ensuring fighter safety. Also, a plan to have a
fourth “table” judge was shot down due to perceived redundancy, as
well as staffing and cost implications.
Hamilton’s reasoning for adding the fourth judge was the thought
that there would be a greater number of draws under a half-point
system. However, statistics from California and Florida amateur
bouts which used the system have shown approximately four percent
of fights ending in deadlocks.
Mullen asserted his belief that the half-point system is a superior
method for scoring MMA and that, if eventually implemented, it will
not only give judges a finer gradient with which to score short MMA
fights, but also give the sport its own identity.
However, the chairman made it clear early on that the system is
simply not ready to be introduced at this point in time. With less
than a year of testing, statistics are still being gathered to back
up Mullen’s opinion that this will be a better fit for MMA.
“It is a better system but it’s a more complicated system,” said
Mullen during Wednesday’s presentation.
He went on to detail his reasoning for holding off on an ABC
“It is more of a training issue than a system issue,” he explained.
“The most important thing for us at this point is to continue to
educate our judges.”
Dr. Sherry Wulkan was also on hand to give a presentation focused
on licensure of fighters with missing limbs, pre-fight medical
testing for fighters over the age of 36, and the protocols for
granting therapeutic use exemption (TUE) by commissions.
Wulkan, whose home state of New Jersey dealt with Marquardt and
ultimately denied his TUE application, walked commission members
through the process and testing protocols an athlete must follow to
be granted an exemption. In the wake of the Nate
Marquardt and Chael Sonnen
situations over the past 11 months, it was a timely topic of
discussion for the convention.
Also, on Monday, ABC President Tim Leuckenhoff was elected to
another two-year term as head of the organization.
Editor's note: This item was updated at 9:32 p.m. ET to remove
an error stating that TUE discussion was added to the ABC's docket
following Marquardt’s removal from a June
Ultimate Fighting Championship card. In fact, TUE was placed on
the committee's agenda in September 2010.
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