What happens if an MMA fight is a draw?

Feb 12, 2023; Perth, WA, AUSTRALIA; Jimmy Crute (red gloves) and Alonzo Menifield (blue gloves)
Feb 12, 2023; Perth, WA, AUSTRALIA; Jimmy Crute (red gloves) and Alonzo Menifield (blue gloves) / Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

What does it mean if an MMA fight ends in a draw?

When two talented competitors step into a ring or cage, fight fans expect to see some sort of conclusive finish. In mixed martial arts, that finish can include a knockout or submission. Those fights that don't have a finish will go to the judges’ scorecards to determine a winner. At least, that’s the intention. Sometimes fights end in a draw, which leaves many questions unanswered. 

When a fight ends in a draw, neither competitor is declared the winner. The referee does not hold up either individuals’ hand and they go their separate ways. Draws come in two forms: the majority draw and the split draw. 

What is the difference between a majority draw and a split draw?

The majority draw is a fight that ends with at least two judges scoring a fight even for both fighters. For example, at UFC 284 on Feb. 11, 2023, the fight between Alonzo Menifeld and Jimmy Crute ended in a majority draw. One scorecard was 29-27 for Crute, while the other two judges saw the fight 28-28. 

The split draw is another form of conclusion that brings forth the same outcome. In this version, one judge scores the bout for Competitor A, while another score the first for Competitor B. The third judge gives a 28-28 score which means neither individual did enough to get two judges to award them the fight, thus the split draw. One of the more well-known split draws in the UFC occurred at UFC 125 in 2011 between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. 

Regardless of whichever version of the draw is levied, they are represented in win-loss-draw format in fighter records. Edgar’s record is 24-11-1 with the one signifying that draw against Maynard. 

Draws are rare in mixed martial arts and brings the night for both competitors to an end without the sought after victory.