Performance Evaluation and Favoritism: Evidence from Mixed Martial Arts
Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management
February 1, 2014
This paper investigates various types of bias and favoritism that may be present in the performance evaluations of state-licensed and state-selected judges for mixed martial arts (MMA) events. Using detailed fighter performance statistics, I analyze round-by-round scoring decisions for major MMA events held in Nevada and California from 2001-2012. Findings do not support hypotheses that judges favor title holders or disfavor fighters given point deductions, but there is support for bias towards heavy favorites and the fighter who won the previous round. Findings provide non-experimental support for possible anchoring and recency bias in a relatively opaque decision environment involving substantial complexity. The results also have strategic implications for MMA fighters and coaches as well as the athletic commissions that license and select the judges.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Anchoring Effect, Favoritism, Judging Bias, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Performance Evaluation, Productivity Analysis, Recency Bias
JEL Classification: D03, J44, L83, M59
Date posted: February 15, 2014