Judge Doug Crosby addresses criticisms of recent scorecards, including Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon


Doug Crosby has come under fire in recent weeks for scorecards he returned while judging fights in both Bellator and the UFC but now he’s responded for the first time.

The veteran official, who was the dissenting judge in the split decision handed down between Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello at Bellator 289, claims he can’t directly address scorecards handed down for any one particular fight. Crosby says athletic commissions have rules in place when it comes to judges and he won’t defy those regulations to defend or explain any scorecard including the 50-45 decision he gave Sabatello.

The same goes for Crosby’s scorecard for the controversial decision between Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon at UFC 282, although he was joined by two more judges that night — Ron McCarthy and Chris Lee — who also returned the same 29-28 decision, although the three officials differed in rounds handed to each fighter.

“There is a system and protocols in place for officials to comment on fights that they have judged and I respect that,” Crosby said on Chael Sonnen’s You’re Welcome podcast. Any fighter interested in knowing how their fight was judged has access to information. This information comes from the official scoring criteria. Any fighter can contact the administrators to inquire about this process.

” The administrators can decide if I comment on specific fights now, or ever. That’s not me trying to duck out of answering hard questions about judging fights but there is a process and I respect the process.”

Crosby’s 50-45 scorecard for Sabatello was the first time in the history of the scoring database where a losing fighter has swept all rounds from a judge.

In the Pimblett vs. Gordon fight, Crosby gave both rounds 1 and 2 to the Liverpool native with only round 3 going to his opponent, which matched the scorecard handed down by McCarthy as well.

While he could not address any specific fights, Crosby described how scoring criteria for mixed martial arts have changed — the most recent set of rules changes was in 2017 — in which effective offense from striking and grappling outweighs anything that may happen.

“Over the last 15 years when you talk the fighters, the overarching comment — and I’m not going to call it a complaint, I’ll call it a comment or a concern — is that effective grappling is not given enough weight in the scoring criteria,” Crosby stated. “Recently, I don’t know how recently, but the scoring criteria has been modified and updated so that effective striking and effective grappling are considered equal.

” If effective grappling can be considered equal to effective striking and you then look at my scores using that new mental lens, it may make the scores easier to comprehend. However, understanding and reaching the criteria is key. I’m not sure who has that ability .”


Crosby acknowledged that judges have to give a score in between rounds. This is especially true in MMA, where so many techniques are used in grappling and striking.

“You’ve got to assign a numerical value to what you just saw and on average you get about 15 seconds to turn that score in,” Crosby said. “If you write off about five of those seconds for the time it takes to write it, that leaves you about 10 seconds to make a decision about who won a round and who lost a round, in the most sophisticated, dynamic sport featuring the best athletes in the world.

“A judge, that is what you do. As a judge, I try to get as much knowledge and insight from fighters .”


Crosby also had to reply to Andy Foster’s recent rule change in California Athletic Commission. This would prohibit any judge from flying across country for another event one night, and then possibly working the event that night.

That’s exactly what happened with Crosby after he worked the Bellator 289 card on Friday and then flew to Las Vegas to serve as a judge for UFC 282 just 24 hours later. As part of Foster’s new rule, judges can only work back-to-back nights in California if traveling no further than a nearby state like Nevada.

“I can’t comment on any resolution or decision by any administrators because I don’t know anything about that right now,” Crosby said. “Anyone who criticizes people for working, you can probably look into the data of people who criticize working class people and find some commonalities. One of the commonalities you will probably find is that the people making those critiques are not members of the working class. Anybody involved in MMA who would criticize or complain about that, about doing what working class people do, has probably not been in the lobby of the hotel in a second tier city after at event at 2:45 in the morning after the restaurant in closed and since it’s a second tier city, there are no other restaurants. They’re sitting in the lobby of that hotel eating a power bar or a Slim Jim or whatever they found in their knapsack to eat, knowing that they’ve got to catch a 5 a.m. shuttle to the airport. I know how that feels because I’m in that lobby, too.

“I travel on those shuttles and I sit in those coach seats for the fighters and for the sport. You’d have to ask yourself, before you accept that as valid criticism, I would qualify the source of that criticism and say is this a working class person making that critique or is it a fabulously wealthy person making that critique? You’d have to assign a value to the criticism based upon the person doing the criticizing.”

While judges are often under attack in combat sports, Crosby says that officials have a difficult job and being constantly criticised will only make matters worse.

This is why he said he mostly tunes in to the responses on his scorecards, while his resume speaks for itself.

“If you want good judges and good judging, they cannot fear the lurking shadow of millionaire pundits when it comes to the decisions they make,” Crosby said. “They can’t fear the lurking shadow of members of the media and I have great respect for genuine members of the MMA media. They think I’m some hostile boogeyman but we’re not supposed to talk to the press and any reporter who comes up to me at a show and wants to just talk about judging philosophy or any of the things that people should take into account, any one [can come talk to me].

” Many people involved in MMA media have a preconceived idea and will take what you say out. This is called confirmation bias. That’s an old trick and it works too often.”

It’s unclear who Crosby was addressing when mentioning “millionaire pundits” but that was a common them in his retort while offering to speak to anybody privately about his approach towards judging fights.

” Any member of the MMA Media can come up to Crosby and speak with me,” Crosby stated. I have great respect and admiration for many of these guys. They are the ones that do the hard work.

The millionaires that second-guess everyone and gossip from their mansions are not the world we live in. But this is the world we live in.”

Source: https://www.mmafighting.com/2022/12/21/23520923/judge-doug-crosby-responds-criticism-over-recent-scorecards-including-paddy-pimblett-vs-jared-gordon?rand=96749