Split Decision

A split decision is a winning criterion in several full-contact combat sports (such as boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts and others sports involving striking) in which two of the three judges rank one fighter as a the winner, while the third judge scores for the other fighter.

A split decision is different from a majority decision, which occurs when two judges pick the same fighter as the winner, while the third judge scores a draw (evenly for both fighters). Note that the effect is the same in both split and majority decision with the difference being that the margin of victory is greater in a majority decision. A split decision is the closest possible result in fights where there is a winner and a loser.

Many times, a split decision causes controversy due to its lack of unanimity. As a result, especially in high-profile or title bouts, the victor may be encouraged or pressured to grant a rematch, in the hopes a return matchup will give a more decisive outcome.

Decisions in combat sports
  • Knockout and technical knockout
Judges' scorecards
  • Draw
  • Majority decision
  • Majority draw
  • Split decision
  • Unanimous decision
  • Disqualification
  • No contest
  • Referee technical decision
  • Submission
  • Technical decision
  • Technical draw
  • Points decision

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