June 18, 2009

Instant Replay Not Quite Yet

Filed under: Uncategorized — kneebar @ 9:02 pm

Excellent MMAjunkie article

Basically, instant replay may become a reality in the future for MMA, or at least in sanctioned events in Nevada.  This issue will be a polarizing one as proposals go public, and I am feeling a bit apprehensive about it.  Instant replay needs to pass several trials before it can be effectively utilized in mixed martial arts bouts.

The first and primary concern to be analyzed before making any decisions is the impact of instant replay on fighter safety.  Instant replay seems to have a neutral impact; it will not improve safety or worsen it.  Instant replay is free to move on.

The second trial could be the impact of instant replay in creating a balanced environment for the sport to occur between participants.  I think most would agree that instant replay if, applied properly, could lead to positive outcomes in fights where it is needed.  This raises the question of appropriate application.  Would there need to be more officials placed in different areas or additional camera angles kept?  When is the window for going to instant replay?  Do you use on the appeal of a fighter/corner, when requested by an additional official not in the cage for certain reasons, or if there has possibly been a fight outcome caused by illegal tactic accidental or deliberate?  What if the fight flow continues past an illegal tactic?  What is the followup for instant replay, immediately going to scorecards, round additions, or the same 5 minute rest period for a restart?  Can it retroactively change decisions and scorecards?    You can not come a a conclusion that will please everyone on this issue.

Another trial to consider is the redundant nature of the rule.  The athletic commission of the state usually can reverse the results of a bout or rule it a no contest.  Look at any case where a fighter has tested positive for a banned substance (Diaz/Gomi reference here).  If the sanctioning bodies can make changes already, why is additional ruling and regulation needed?  All instant replay could possibly bring at that point is that it could make for immediate impact in real-time.  I wonder, wouldn’t the commission be able to make an immediate decision anyway?

The most cited cases at this time are the Cro Cop/Al-Turk fight, and of course Johnson/Burns.  In the Johnson fight, they deferred to the officials judgement call, and did not reverse that unfortunate error in judgment even with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  If installed would we see every bout being second guessed due to an accidental strike to the back of the head or downward elbow?  I am not excited to find out.


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