OKTAGON MMA will implement open scoring for its final event in 2023.
Open scoring means that judges’ scores are made public after each round. This differs from the current set-up, where the scores are only revealed at the end of the fight. Open scoring aims to increase transparency and give fighters, fans, and coaches a better understanding of how a fighter is doing.
This could impact a fighter’s strategy depending on whether they are ahead or behind on the cards. Invicta FC has tried this system, but it has not been implemented at the highest level of MMA. But now it will be trialed at OKTAGON 51 on December 29, 2023, in Prague, Czech Republic.
— MMA Alley (@MMAAlley) December 21, 2023
“We will be happy to be the first organization in Europe to do this. We think it’s the right thing. Really, our thinking is, ‘Why not?’ We don’t really understand why it is not open already. We think it will bring more excitement for the fighters and the fans,” Pavol Neruda (OKTAGON MMA co-founder)
Critics argue this can lead to fewer action-packed bouts if the fighter knows he is ahead. It can also create controversy. Since scorecards are reported in real-time, errors and biased judging are immediately spotted. But Neruda felt the benefits outweighed the downsides. He highlighted how Karlos Vemola and Patrik Kincl’s fight at OKTAGON 43 would have played out differently if there was open scoring.
“Vemola had this controversial fight with Kincl – five rounds, kind of boring, but he thought that the way he was fighting was winning him the fight, so he kept those tactics. If he had known he was losing (on the judges scorecards), it would have been a very different fight. I’m super excited to see how the fights play out with the fighters knowing where they stand on the scorecards,” Neruda stated