Unanimous decision

A unanimous decision (UD) is a winning criterion in several full-contact combat sports, such as boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts and other sports involving striking and submission in which all three judges agree on which fighter won the match.[1]

In boxing, each of the three judges keep score (round by round) of which fighter they feel is winning (and losing). This only includes landed blows to the head or the body. In MMA, judges look for different criteria such as kicks, take downs, punches, knees, elbows, cage control, submission attempts and aggression.[2] A decision is not required to be unanimous for a boxer or mixed martial artist to be given a victory. In modern era of Olympic boxing, UD is utilized more often than other outcomes including stoppages.[3] Unanimous decision should not be confused with a majority decision or split decision.


In the early days of combat fighting, winners were determined only when one party was unable to continue the fight.[4] The National Sporting Club started to promote professional glove fighting, and introduced the use of officials and their capacity to declare the winner of a fight. Officials began using a scoring system to determine the winner of the fight and this made unanimous decisions a logical outcome.

Any combat sports decision has the potential to be overturned. Some reason for this may include counting errors, misdeclaration, and retroactive disqualification due to rule violations. There has never been a unanimous decision overturned.

Notable unanimous decisionsEdit

Notable unanimous decisions
Date Winner Opponent Notes
March 8, 1971 Joe Frazier Muhammad Ali For WBA, WBC, and vacant The Ring heavyweight titles
January 28,1974 Muhammad Ali Joe Frazier Retained NABF heavyweight title
March 7, 1987 Mike Tyson James Smith Retained WBC heavyweight title;

Won WBA heavyweight title; Heavyweight unification series

June 11, 2009 Georges St-Pierre Thiago Alves Defended the UFC Welterweight Championship.
May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather Jr Manny Pacquiao Retained WBA (Unified), WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles;

Won WBO welterweight title

February 8, 2020 Jon Jones Dominick Reyes Defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Controversial unanimous decisionsEdit

Controversial unanimous decisions
Date Winner Opponent Notes
December 5, 1947 Joe Louis Joe Walcott Scores were split in favor of Louis: 6-7, 8-6, 9-6.[5]
April 10, 2010 B.J. Penn Frankie Edgar Lost the UFC Lightweight Championship.[6]
February 4, 2012 Carlos Condit Nick Diaz Won the interim UFC Welterweight Championship.[6]
July 2, 2017 Jeff Horn Manny Pacquiao Lost WBO welterweight title[7]
February 12, 2023 Islam Makhachev Alexander Volkanovski Retained UFC lightweight Championship.[8]

Notable athletesEdit



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Decision - BoxRec". Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Unified Rules - Learn the Rules of MMA | C.O.M.M.A.N.D." mmareferee.com. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  3. ^ Nelson, Murry (2005). "Sports History as a Vehicle for Social and Cultural Understanding in American History". The Social Studies. 96 (3): 118–125. doi:10.3200/tsss.96.3.118-125. ISSN 0037-7996. S2CID 144839570.
  4. ^ A., Riess, Steven (January 2014). Major problems in American sport history : documents and essays. ISBN 978-1-133-31108-9. OCLC 870647030.
  5. ^ Markarian, Ray. "The 10 Most Controversial Decisions in Boxing History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  6. ^ a b MacDonald, James. "The 10 Most Controversial Judging Decisions in UFC History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  7. ^ "Boxing career of Manny Pacquiao", Wikipedia, 2021-04-26, retrieved 2021-05-01
  8. ^ Verdict MMA[dead link]