One of the most consistent problems in mixed martial arts since its inception has been the judging. While some would argue that the entire system needs an overhaul, it’s probably too much to ask the athletic commissions to make sweeping changes all at once. The good news is they’re at least willing to make incremental changes as evidenced by today’s unanimous vote by the NSAC to allow judges to use monitors at all future UFC events. ESPN’s Brett Okomato has the details:
According to the petition, the screens are designed “to afford each judge the opportunity to view the action in the limited instances where their direct line of sight is impaired or obstructed for whatever reason.”
The feed on the monitors will be the same shown on larger screens suspended around arenas at UFC events. They will carry no audio feed and go black in between rounds.
“The technology will be utilized in the exact same was as the in-stadium boards, it will show the exact same feed,” said attorney Michael Mersch, who represented the UFC at the meeting.
“There will be no audio component, so they won’t be hearing announcers and be influenced by that. There will be no replays, so judges are not reviewing repeated footage.”
The UFC will be required to foot the bill for the monitors, but it’s a small price to pay for what will hopefully result in better judging. The change is effective immediately, so the judges will have monitors at UFC 130 next weekend.
The addition of monitors isn’t the only change the NSAC is making though. In the wake of Thiago Silva’s fake urine fiasco, the NSAC has elected to go with a more intrusive inspection process when fighters submit their urine samples. In short, the inspectors will be up, close and personal watching the fighters pee into the cup. The NSAC’s Keith Kizer described the new policy to MMAFA.tv:
“So the changes that we’re making are — and it’s unfortunate we have to go to this level because guys like Thiago Silva and Kevin Randleman ruined it for the bunch — that you need to see the urine coming out of the penis and into the cup. All fighters will be shirtless, and they shouldn’t have a problem with that since they fight shirtless in front of thousands of people anyway, and they will pull their pants down to the knees and then urinate right in front of the inspector. They have to see the urine actually going into the vial.”
Talk about stage fright.
While this will certainly prevent fighters from pulling a Randleman or Silva, it still wouldn’t prevent fighters from injecting someone else’s urine straight into their bladder. I’m not sure how many fighters, if any, would be willing to do that, but that possibility amongst all the other issues with urine testing has led many people to call for blood testing. That’s another whole can of worms I’m not going to open here, but if you so desire, Keith Kizer has a laundry list of reasons why he thinks blood testing isn’t the answer either which you’re welcome to check out over at MMAFA.tv.