How to Become an MMA Judge in California


Earning $1,600 or more to judge the most recognized world championship bouts and approximately $150 to $500 per bout for other bouts, mixed martial arts (MMA) judges for professional MMA bouts are paid similar to boxing judges. Judging amateur MMA paid $100 to $150 per bout in 2009. The pay schedule is provided by CAMO upon submittal of your application for a judge license. Judges must be licensed. Licensing requires taking courses, taking tests, submitting an application, and scoring matches with dummy scorecards to compare your scores with those of the official judges.

  • Attend a California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization (CAMO) approved training course. According to the CAMO website on May 6, 2010, the Certification of Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development (COMMAND) two day course in Valencia, California, was the only approved program in North America. In 2010 the two day course cost $400, which does not include motel accommodations or meals. In 2010 the Mariott Santa Clarita offered a special rate for COMMAND participants.

  • Pass a technique test, written test, and practical application test administered at the training course immediately after instruction by the instructor. A passing score is defined as 90 percent correct answers on each of the three tests. Failure to pass means that you must retake the entire COMMAND course to obtain your amateur MMA judge's license.

  • Go to the CAMO website and click on "Become a Referee, Judge, Inspector, or Timekeeper" and fill out your name, gender, date of birth, phone number, address, and e-mail to create an account and online profile.

  • Download a clean recent digital photograph to your account by clicking on the download photo button, then clicking on browse, and selecting the picture from your saved pictures on your computer.

  • Download the official's packet from the pop-up screen, available after creating or logging into an account. Fill out your name, address, phone number, e-mail, details of any financial interest that you have in MMA events, past criminal convictions, experience, and other basic information. Mail this packet along with the application fee, which was $40 in 2010.

  • Attend 10 events (CAMO can assist with scheduling), and fill out dummy scorecards and compare with the scorecards of the judges. The head judge or other bout official will determine whether your scoring was consistent with that of the official judges. If so, he will submit a recommendation to CAMO that you be awarded an official one-year amateur MMA judge's license. It not, he will provide you with guidance and you will need to fill out dummy scorecards at additional events to receive your amateur MMA judge's license.

  • Call the California State Athletic Commissioner's office after judging amateur MMA for three years to request an application to obtain a license to judge professional MMA, if desired. Complete the basic information, and send to the address on the form.

Tips & Warnings

  • Application includes the current pay schedule.
  • Passing the tests requires understanding of sweeps (including butterfly, double ankle, elevator, half guard, hip heist, old school, and scissor); positions (including back control, butterfly guard, can opener, clinch, closed guard and crucifix); submissions (including Americana, anaconda, ankle lock, armbar, bicep slicer, calf slicer, omplata, peruvian neck, and triangle chock. These are demonstrated at approved training course. Pre-course preparation can be obtained by viewing videos of moves online at

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  • Photo Credit Martial arts winner image by Warren Millar from
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