Laura Sanko Argues Against Open Scoring, Reveals Judges’ Fault: “Is It Fine That Ketlen Vieira Won?”

Laura Sanko has given her take on the recent controversy surrounding Holly Holm's loss

Laura Sanko, Holly Holm, Ketlen Vieira
Credit: ESPN MMA, UFC (via YouTube & Twitter)

UFC analyst Laura Sanko has shared her thoughts on Holly Holm’s controversial loss to Ketlen Vieira at UFC Vegas 55.

This past weekend, Holm took on Vieira in the headlining bout for UFC Fight Night 206. In a fight where Holm amassed a control time of over 10 minutes, little action was seen throughout the five rounds. Although the ladies did step in line to trade some shots, Vieira claimed that Holm was avoiding the fight.

Laura Sanko defends judges

Following the split decision outcome of last weekend’s main event, the debate regarding the judging criteria was spreading like wildfire.

In a recent appearance on the DC & RC show for ESPN MMA, Laura Sanko defended the judges for their decision. She expanded on how she had reached out to a number of experts in the field and how they all seemed to be in agreement about the outcome of the fight.

“A lot of experts are telling me there is no perfectly correct answer so is it fine that Ketlen Vieira won that fight? Yes, it is. According to the perfect judging criteria, the perfect way to look at that fight, that is an acceptable outcome.”

Being a former martial artist herself, Sanko understands the pressures that go into scoring such high-stakes fights. Although she’s now more renowned for commentating on Dana White’s Contender Series, Sanko is a bonafide athlete who knows the game.

Sanko doesn’t want open scoring

There were lots of talks about having an open scoring system given the confusion with the result of Holm’s loss. While it may come across as inconsistent to the audience, Sanko argues that the judges were fair in their tally. She opined against the idea and shared her reasons for the same.

“I am not a proponent of it. I am one of the few people who have called a fair number of fights with open scoring because I’ve called fights for Invicta and for LFA”

“I’m not a fan of it… One of the biggest factors is I don’t like the potential that a judge could be affected by the reaction of the audience. That is a very real thing”

Sanko made a good point in terms of the gap that exists between the actual interpretation of the judging criteria and the perception of the audience, including fighters and their coaches. Having the commentary team and presenters brush up on their knowledge of how MMA scoring works will go a long way in educating the people who are watching the events.

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