Joe Rogan believes Carla Esparza’s title-winning performance against Rose Namajunas at UFC 274 is proof that the scoring system in MMA needs changing.
Esparza (19-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) dethroned Namajunas (11-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC) last month to capture the strawweight title in a razor-close but lackluster affair that left many people confused on how to score the fight.
Pat Barry, who was in Namajunas’ corner, encouraged her to keep going with her exact game plan as the fight unfolded. Little did he know that judge Rick Winter had Esparza winning the first four rounds and judge Brad Frank had her winning the first three of four, which gave Esparza the split decision.
But with the scorecards all over the place, Rogan questions what the judges were looking at when there was so little action over the course of 25 minutes.
“I don’t get it,” Rogan said on his most recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast with guest Gina Carano. “I don’t know. I’m a big fan of Pat Barry, I love him, but he was saying something different than the rest of the corner was saying. … I think maybe the game plan was to make Carla frustrated and take big risks? Because she has to win, she has to go after Rose to win. But by the time we were in, like, Round 3, I was having this conversation with (Daniel) Cormier: ‘Who f * cking knows who won? Who knows who’s winning this? Because nothing’s happening. ‘”
Reflecting on Esparza vs. Namajunas got Rogan thinking about the big picture when it comes to MMA scoring.
“This is my No. 1 problem with scoring, the way we have scoring in MMA: Any one of those rounds (in Esparza vs. Namajunas) could be a 10-9 round, or a round where someone beats someone pretty cleanly and lands a lot of shots could also be a 10-9 round. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s a flaw in the scoring system, ”Rogan said. “We need a better system. We don’t need boxing’s system. It shouldn’t have anything to do with 10-9. There should be a bunch of factors like volume, the amount strikes, submissions, takedowns, all the damage, all that sh * t. Add it up, and it should be a totally different thing. We should have scores like 57-96 for one round, 100-20 for another round, like that kind of sh * t. Because that’s more indicative of what’s actually happening in a fight than 10-9. “
We’ve seen an array of close fights such as Josh Emmett’s win over Calvin Kattar and Mateusz Gamrot’s win over Arman Tsarukyan labeled as robberies. But with the perceived inefficiency of the current scoring system, Rogan thinks a change needs to be made.
“Jesus Christ, I don’t know, I’ve been preaching this for years,” Rogan said. “Everyone’s like, ‘Err, they already fixed the system. Err, you don’t understand the system. ‘ Like, I understand the system as it stands. What I’m saying is the system as it stands f * cking sucks. “