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Sunday, August 04, 2019

It has been over five years since MMAdecisions.com has examined the causes of draws in the UFC, so let's take an updated look.

To set the table, there are relatively few draws in MMA fights because with an uneven number of rounds, if all judges score all rounds 10-9 (without point deductions), then it is impossible for the result to be a draw. Consequently, there are three primary reasons why an MMA fight would end in a draw:

  • There was at least one 10-8 round scored in the fight
  • There was at least one 10-10 round scored in the fight
  • There was a point deducted by the referee for a foul

The time frame from 2016-2017 saw the greatest frequency of draws, with 12 occurring in the UFC during that period. However, there have only been two since, and none so far in 2019.

Of the 29 fights on the list, 16 were caused by 10-8 rounds, 10 were caused by point deductions, and 4 were caused by 10-10 rounds. (Note that one fight was caused by both a 10-10 round and a 10-8 round, so it was double counted)

Causes of Modern-Era UFC Draws *
Date Event Fight Draw Type Cause
2018-11-03 UFC 230 M Frevola vs. L Vannata Majority 10-8 round
2018-09-22 UFC Fight Night 137 M Rodriguez vs. R Markos Majority 10-8 round
2017-12-30 UFC 219 M Vettori vs. O Akhmedov Majority 10-8 round
2017-12-01 TUF 26 Finale D Bennett vs. M Fabian Majority Point Deduction
2017-10-07 UFC 216 L Vannata vs. B Green Split Point Deduction
2017-10-07 UFC 216 B Dariush vs. E Dunham Majority 10-8 round
2017-03-11 UFC Fight Night 106 M Reneau vs. B Correia Majority 10-8 round
2016-11-12 UFC 205 T Woodley vs. S Thompson Majority 10-8 round
2016-09-17 UFC Fight Night 94 A Morales vs. A Perez Majority Point Deduction
2016-09-03 UFC Fight Night 93 C Colombo vs. J Danho Majority Point Deduction
2016-07-30 UFC 201 M Graves vs. B Velickovic Majority 10-8 round
2016-06-04 UFC 199 K Casey vs. E Mutapcic Split 10-8 round
2016-05-14 UFC 198 S Moraes vs. L Chagas Split 10-8 round
2016-01-30 UFC on Fox 18 D Jackson vs. L Makashvili Majority Point Deduction
2015-10-24 UFC Fight Night 76 D Till vs. N Dalby Majority 10-8 round
2015-09-27 UFC Fight Night 75 T Ishihara vs. M Hirota Split 10-10 round
2014-03-23 UFN 38 N Parke vs. L Santos Majority Point Deduction
2013-12-07 UFN 33 A Silva vs. M Hunt Majority 10-8 round
2012-06-23 UFC 147 F Arantes vs. M Vieira Split 10-8 round
2012-03-03 UFC on FX 2 D Johnson vs. I McCall Majority 10-8 & 10-10 rounds
2011-02-27 UFC 127 J Fitch vs. BJ Penn Majority 10-8 round
2011-01-01 UFC 125 F Edgar vs. G Maynard Split 10-8 round
2010-12-11 UFC 124 R Natal vs. J Bongfeldt Majority 10-8 round
2010-10-16 UFC 120 T Browne vs. C Kongo Unanimous Point Deduction
2010-01-11 UFN 20 T Tavares vs. N Lentz Majority Point Deduction
2009-11-21 UFC 106 C Uno vs. F Camões Majority Point Deduction
2007-07-07 UFC 73 R Evans vs. T Ortiz Unanimous Point Deduction
2003-06-06 UFC 43 V White vs. I Freeman Split 10-10 round
2003-02-28 UFC 41 BJ Penn vs. C Uno Split 10-10 round
* - As of August 4th, 2019


  • Caol Uno, BJ Penn, and Lando Vannata have been involved in two UFC draws.
  • Ken Shamrock fought to two time-limit draws in SEG-era UFC fights.
  • There was only 1 UFC draw between June 6, 2003 and November 20, 2009.
Sunday, March 03, 2019

Another year has come and gone, and once again it was Sal D'Amato who tops the year's list of the busiest UFC judges. D'Amato also led this list in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

In second place is another stalwart on the UFC judging scene, Chris Lee, who submitted completed scorecards in 59 UFC decisions in 2018.

Rounding out the podium is Derek Cleary, who remains a cageside fixture at UFC events. 2016's busiest judge tallied a total of 44 UFC scorecards in 2018.

Last year's second busiest judge, Jeff Mullen, did not record a scorecard tracked on MMAdecisions.com in 2018.

New to the top 10 list in 2018 were American west coast judges Dave Hagen and Michael Bell, plus Brazilian judges Guilherme Bravo, none of whom had made the list previously. Also added to the list in 2018 were veterans Glenn Trowbridge and Douglas Crosby.

In addition to Mullen, those dropping off the list in 2018 were British judge Ben Cartlidge and Paul Sutherland, plus American east coast judge Eric Colón.

Busiest UFC Judges of 2018 *
# Judge Events** Decisions
1Sal D'Amato2169
2Chris Lee2059
3Derek Cleary1744
4Dave Hagen821
5Marcos Rosales720
6Michael Bell716
-Dave Tirelli616
8Tony Weeks515
-Guilherme Bravo615
10Glenn Trowbridge616
-Douglas Crosby615
* - Not including fights stopped before decision
** - Not including worked events in which a full scorecard was not submitted

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Using a combined measurement of media and fan scoring percentages, MMAdecisions.com has compiled a list of the 2018's most disputed decisions:

2018's Most Disputed Decisions
Agreement with Winner
# Fight Media Fans Avg. Winner's Judges Other Judge Notes
1Khabilov def. Johnson8%8%8%Cartlidge, MotylewskiLethabyHome-country decision
2Moraes def. Means7%12%10%Iorio, WeeksRosalesHome-country decision
3Nurmagomedov def. Scoggins0%23%11%Hagen, RosalesMikkelsonAway-country decision
4Ottow def. Grant8%16%12%Lee, WinterPuccillo-
5Ray def. Ayari8%25%17%Doiron, Earle, LeBlanc-Earle had 30-27
6Waterson def. Casey6%29%17%Flores, HagenD'Amato-
7Till def. Thompson12%28%20%Collett, Roberts, Sutherland-Home-country decision
8Yoder def. Cooper12%29%20%Cleary, ThrasherVan Tine
9Perez def. Wineland13%29%21%Hagen, Mikkelson, Weeks-Away-country decision
10Kim def. Kish27%16%21%Elliott, UrsoD'AmatoAway-country decision

Honourable Mentions:

Of note:

  • The year's most disputed decision, Johnson vs. Khabilov, would not have topped the list if it had occurred in any of the previous 5 years.
  • Though none of his fights cracked the top ten, Dennis Bermudez may feel the most aggrieved of any fighter in 2018. He lost two fights by split decision in which both the fans and the media collectively agreed that he should have won. Dating back to 2017, this marks three straight split decision losses for "The Menace" in which he was favoured by the media scorers.
  • If our boxing fights were included on this list, the Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch would have been the 4th most disputed decision of the year.
  • American-born fighters seemed to get the short end of the stick this year. Four of the top 10 fights involved a non-American-born fighter defeating an American-born fighter, but there were no fights with the opposite scenario.
  • Dave Hagen submitted scorecards for the winner in three of the ten fights on this year's list. Hagen was the 4th most active judge in UFC decisions in 2018, submitting completed scorecards in 21 total UFC fights.
  • For the second straight year, Sal D'Amato submitted more UFC scorecards than any other judge and also avoided siding with the winner in any fight on this list. D'Amato has achieved this feat in 3 of the last 4 years.

Home-Country Decisions*

"Home-Country Decisions", by definition, are those fights in which the winner hailed from the country in which the fight was held and his/her opponent was from another country. Conversely, if the loser was from the event's country and his/her opponent was from elsewhere, the fight was marked as an "away-country decision".

* - Marking these fights as such does not imply that the judges held a geographical bias of any sort; it is merely an objective observation.

Selection Criteria

  • Only decisions in which more than two-thirds of the tracked media scores disagreed with the actual winner AND decisions in which more than two-thirds of the submitted fan scorecards disagreed with the actual winner were included.
  • A fight must have a minimum of 6 media scores.
  • A fight must have a minimum of 15 fan scorecards.
  • Draws were excluded.
  • Only fights from Bellator, Cage Warriors, Invicta, KSW, World Series of Fighting and the UFC were considered.

Sources of Bias

There are several possible sources of bias that could have affected the members and order of this list. Those sources include:

  • Loser Bias: Fans who disagree with the outcome are more likely to submit a scorecard than those who are content with the decision.
  • Geographical Bias (Fans): Sometimes certain countries generate more traffic than others, which could lead to a bias in fan voting.
  • Geographical Bias (Media): The media scorecards tracked on this site are predominantly submitted by US-based media members.
  • Small Sample Size: with thresholds set at 6 media members and 15 fan scorecards, it is quite possible that those small thresholds could yield results that vary significantly from the general MMA populace.
  • UFC Bias: Because of the dearth of media and fan scores in other organizations, very few non-UFC decisions meet the thresholds for consideration.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On the surface, Khabib Nurmagomedov's decision victory over Edson Barboza seemed to be one of the most dominating three-round victories in the UFC history. After reviewing the scorecards, that was confirmed.

The three cageside judges scored the fight 30-25, 30-25 and 30-24 in favour of the Dagestani grappling whiz. Combining the three scorecards, Nurmagomedov's total advantage was 16 points. That 16-point margin was the largest difference in the history of three-round UFC decisions.

Making the feat more impressive was the fact that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has yet to adopt the new scoring criteria for the Unified Rules which support a greater use of 10-8 round scores.

Additionally impressive was that this fight broke the record without the aid of point deductions.

Nam Phan has the ignominious distinction of being the only fighter on the losing side of this list twice, as he lost two decisive decisions to Jimy Hettes and Dennis Siver.

Biggest Combined Margin of Victory in 3-Round UFC Decisions *
# Fight Scorecards Margin of
Point Deductions
1Nurmagomedov def. Barboza30-25, 30-25, 30-2416None
2Siver def. Phan30-24, 30-25, 30-2615None
-Prazeres def. Taisumov30-25, 30-25, 30-2515Taisumov was deducted 1 point in round 1: Illegal Upkick
Taisumov was deducted 1 point in round 2: Grabbing the Cage
-Usman def. Yakovlev30-25, 30-25, 30-2515Yakovlev was deducted 1 point in round 1: Grabbing the Fence
5Petz def. Morgan30-27, 30-26, 30-2314None
-Hettes def. Phan30-25, 30-25, 30-2614None
-Dillashaw def. Watson30-25, 30-25, 30-2614None
-Elliott def. Papazian30-25, 30-25, 30-2614Papazian was deducted 1 point in round 1: Illegal Knee
-Cummins def. Kingsbury30-27, 30-25, 30-2414None
-Smith def. Miller30-25, 30-25, 30-2614None
-Maia def. Nelson30-25, 30-25, 30-2614None
-Sanchez def. Rountree Jr.30-25, 30-25, 30-2614None
* - As of January 24th, 2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sal D'Amato was more active than all other judges at UFC events in 2017, as he returned to the top of the list of the year's busiest UFC judges. D'Amato previously topped the list in 2013 and 2015.

Jeff Mullen slotted in at the second position, up three spots from the previous year.

Last year's busiest judge, Derek Cleary, was once again a frequent presence at major MMA events in 2017. But a small decrease in total UFC scorecards saw him drop to the number three position.

New to the top 10 list in 2017 were American east coast judges Dave Tirelli and Eric Colón.

Dropping off the list in 2017 were Las Vegas judges Glenn Trowbridge and Junichiro Kamijo. Trowbridge had the biggest drop-off, only submitting scorecards in 13 UFC decisions, down from 39 in 2016.

Busiest UFC Judges of 2017 *
# Judge Events** Decisions
1Sal D'Amato2053
2Jeff Mullen1750
3Derek Cleary1947
4Marcos Rosales1234
5Chris Lee1331
6Ben Cartlidge616
-Eric Colón716
-Dave Tirelli616
9Paul Sutherland515
-Tony Weeks615
* - Not including fights stopped before decision
** - Not including worked events in which a full scorecard was not submitted

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