What is The Majority Draw in UFC? Simply Explained

The Majority Draw in UFC

Since the initial UFC event held in 1993, over 49 matches have ended in a draw. However, let’s not forget there are different types of draws, with the majority draw being one of the most confusing ones. What is the majority draw in UFC actually?

The majority draw means that two out of three UFC judges have scored the fight as a draw, while the third judge scored the fight for either of the two fighters. Since the majority of the judges think no one is the winner, the fight ends as a “majority draw”. The majority draw also differs from a unanimous draw as, in a unanimous draw, all three judges need to agree that neither fighter won the match.

Keep reading this article to learn more about different types of draw decisions.

How the majority draw differs from the unanimous draw

What Does the Majority Draw Mean in the UFC?

The majority draw is when two judges score the fight as a draw, while the third judge has one of the fighters as a winner on their scorecards. Each UFC event includes three judges sitting beside the cage and scoring the fight using a 10-point must system. When two of them score the fight as a draw, and the third judge gives it to either fighter, the match would end as a majority draw.

If the majority draw happens in a UFC title fight, then the champion will retain the belt and championship status.

How the majority draw differs from the unanimous draw?

In a unanimous draw, all three judges agree that both fighters were equal in all the criteria of scoring. In the majority draw, two of the judges actually outvote the third judge 2:1, which is why it is called the “majority” draw. Though one of the fighters won the fight on one of the scorecards, the match would end as a draw.

Let’s look at some of the examples of UFC majority draws.

Majority Draw Examples

Here is a list of some of the most memorable “majority draw” decisions in UFC history.

Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson – UFC 205

Scorecards: 47-47; 47-47, 48-47 (Woodley)

At UFC 205 event held in Madison Square Garden in New York, Woodley and Thompson have both put on a show. Woodley, a 170-pound champ at the time, managed to win the first round with takedowns and top control. But Thompson managed to keep the fight standing and win the second and third rounds. In the fourth, Woodley went on to score a big knockdown to win the round. But once again, Thompson managed to bounce back in the fifth, and the match ended in a majority draw.

Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo – UFC 256

Scorecards: 48-46 (Figueiredo); 47-47; 47-47

At UFC 256, the flyweight champ, Deiveson Figueiredo put his belt on the line against the Mexican, Brandon Moreno. Both fighters battled over five grueling rounds, with the fight going back and forth the entire time. The initial feeling was that Figueiredo is winning the exchanges and that he would be the winner. But the illegal blow he landed in the third round forced the referee to deduct a point. If it wasn’t for the point deduction, he would have won the decision. But this way, the match ended as a majority draw.

Grant Dawson vs. Ricky Glenn – UFC Fight Night 196

Scorecards: 29-28 (Dawson); 28-28; 28-28

The match between Dawson and Glenn ended up as a high level grappling match between two skilled fighters. Dawson utilized his top level wrestling skills to score takedowns and secure strong top control over the first two rounds. But in the third, Glenn would finally wake up and completely turn the momentum to his side. He dominated the entire round, which secured him a 10-8 on the judges’ scorecards. As a result, two of the three judges couldn’t pick the winner, and the match ended as a majority draw.

What is Unanimous Draw in UFC?

Unanimous draw is a type of decision outcome where all three judges score the match as a draw. Bear in mind that this type of draw does not happen that often in MMA. It is very unlikely to see all three judges agree that neither fighter won the match.

Has UFC ever had a fight ending as a unanimous draw?

The first match in UFC history that ended in a unanimous draw without a point deduction took place in 2021, 28 years after the initial UFC event in 1993.

Why unanimous draws are so rare?

The main reason is the lack of standards when it comes to criteria. The UFC scoring criteria are far from ideal and leave a lot of space for the judges to form their subjective opinions on the fight without relying much on criteria.

Next, MMA is a complex sport, more complex than any other combat sport. There are so many variables and it is very unlikely that the two fighters would be equal in all of the three main scoring criteria.  If you combine these factors you will get why unanimous draws are not that common.

Unanimous draw examples

Chris Gutierrez vs Cody Durden – UFC on ESPN+ 31
Scorecards: 28-28; 28-28; 28-28

The clash between Gutierrez and Durden was a “regular” match between two upcoming fighters that ended up being a part of UFC history. For the first time, all three UFC judges scored the match as a draw, which was the first unanimous draw in the UFC history (without point deduction).

What is a Split Draw in UFC?

The UFC match ends in a split draw when one judge scores the match for fighter A, the second judge has the fighter B as the winner, and the third judge scores the match as a draw. In this case, the match would be declared a split draw because all three judges have scored the fight differently, and with that, couldn’t agree on which fighter won the match.

Like unanimous draws, you won’t see many UFC matches ending in a split draw. It usually happens when the fight is really close and the numbers are identical which makes it hard for the judges to decide whether to score it as a draw or give it to fighter A or B.

Examples of the split draw in UFC

Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby – UFC Vegas 25
Scorecards: 28-29 (Jacoby); 28-28; 29-28 (Cutelaba)

To say that Cutelaba and Jacoby have put on a show would be an understatement. These two warriors battled over three rounds, and the fight could have gone either way and no one would say a word about the decision. In the end, one judge had it for Cutelaba, the other one for Jacoby, while the third one scored the match as a draw. As a result, the match ended as a split draw.

BJ Penn vs. Caol Uni 2 – UFC 41

Scorecards: 48-46 (Penn); 47-48 (Uno); 48-48

The first bout between these two ended with Penn knocking out Uni in just 11 seconds at UFC 34 in 2001. But the two would meet each other once again at UFC 41, in a fight that ended as a split draw. Though the popular opinion is that Penn was a better fighter that night, the numbers were really close.

Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard – UFC 125

Scorecards: 47-47; 48-46 (Edgar); 46-48 (Maynard)

Edgar vs. Maynard 2 will go down in history as one of the most iconic fights in the history of the sport. The fight was going back and forth right from the opening second, and the two nearly finished each other on multiple occasions over the five rounds. All three judges scored the fight differently and neither fighter was declared a winner.

Final thoughts on the majority draw in the UFC

Unlike in other mainstream sports, a draw is a rare outcome in modern MMA, especially in the UFC. But even when it happens, it is always good to know that there are different types of draws, with the “majority draw” being one of the most common draw outcomes.

Hopefully, this article helped you better understand how the majority and other types of draws work in the UFC.

Images by Antonio Fucito from flickr
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