Judging in combat sports is a weird gig. The rules on how to do it seem to vary from state to state and the required education to do it seems to be hard to find. To sit ring/cage-side and focus on the criteria to judge fights, give scores of 10,9, or 8 and then add them up in an arena filled with rabid fans can be daunting. You think there would be some training but as we have seen, some judges get places just because they are relics in the local politics of sports.
Take Adelaide Byrd for example.
She judges boxing and MMA events, mostly in Las Vegas, Nevada. What qualifies her to be a judge? Surely it cannot be because she is married to a boxing referee and judge Robert Byrd, can it?
The best answer I got was when I had the pleasure of speaking with Sean Wheelock
, who is the Kansas Athletic Commissioner and has extensive experience as a play-by-play broadcaster for combat sports and is the Rules and Judging Analyst for Triller Fight Club. He pointed out the unique task of being an individual human being that has to focus on everything from the perspective of where they are sitting versus what we all see at home.
Yes, they have monitors (sometimes) but if they’re not trained in combat sports they still have to judge on what they see from where they are sitting. When looking at it that way, it helps understand where some scoring comes from but it still doesn’t make controversial outcomes any better.
Check out Wheelock’s full interview here: