An MMA judge has been at the center of a scoring controversy stemming from UFC and Bellator events earlier this month. Following the Bellator 289 event and UFC 282 event, all eyes have been on Judge Doug Crosby. Crosby was on hand at both events back to back, the first in Connecticut on Friday night, and the second Saturday night in Las Vegas. Both of them saw his scorecards as suspect and in one case vastly different from his peers. Because of this questions have arisen.
Due to the nature of Crosby’s situation the judging criteria for mixed martial arts events have been put under a microscope within the media and with other fighters. Now Crosby is speaking out on how he came to his conclusions in both events.
Doug Crosby says judges have very little time to make up their decisions during the fight
Crosby was cage-side for the Bellator 289 main event between Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello. He scored the bout 50–45 for Sabatello and was the only judge to score in that matter. The other two judges on hand both had 48–47 for Stots. Similarly the next night Crosby scored the co-main event of UFC 282 29–28 for Paddy Pimblett over Jared Gordon. His other two colleagues agreed with him in that fight. Crosby is now airing his side of things while he was a guest with Chael Sonnen on his You’re Welcome podcast.
“You’ve got to assign a numerical value to what you just saw, and on average you get about 15 seconds to turn that score in. And if you write off about five of those seconds for the time it takes to write it, that leaves you about 10 seconds to make a decision about who won a round and who lost a round,” he said via MMA Junkie. “Over the last 15 years, when you talk to the fighters, the overarching comment is that effective grappling is not given enough weight in the scoring criteria and recently, the scoring criteria has been modified and updated so that effective striking and effective grappling are considered equal and if effective grappling is considered the equal of effective striking, and then you look at any of my scores through that newly ground mental lens, the scores may become easier to understand.”
Crosby went on to explain that he does not take the criticism to heart and says that he respects all the fighters that he judges.
“But that has to do with reading and understanding the criteria and I don’t know who does that and who doesn’t,” he explained. “I do know that when I talk to fighters they are overwhelmingly intelligent and articulate and courageous and I respect them all, for better or worse, and that’s what moves me forward, is what’s best for the fighters not what’s best for the coaches or the media. For the fighters and any fighter knows that they can discuss anything with me in private at any time.”
As a result of this controversy, the California State Athletic Commission has issued a travel restriction for MMA judges. They will not be allowed to work in different states over a certain number of miles on consecutive days. The CSAC holds the right to remove any judge who has accepted an out-of-state assignment within one day of their assignment in California.