MMA Refs NEED apply!


Out of all the jobs in the MMA world, referees have to have one of the most difficult. The weight of the world is on their shoulders as they have the power to decide whether a fighter is finished or is allowed to continue fighting.

Safety is paramount as well as making sure the competitors abide by the rules at all times. A good referee isn’t even noticed if doing his job correctly.

Is it just me, or has the sport of MMA evolved so fast, that the referee’s haven’t kept pace? I apologize for being critical of them, but seriously, all I ask is consistency between matches.

Dan Miragliotta stopped the Fabricio Werdum vs Brandon Vera fight when Vera was mounted while intelligently defending himself, barely taking any shots, while not allowing Werdum to maintain proper base to land the most effective shots.

The worst part about it is, when Dan was working the Kimbo Slice fight last week on CBS’s Elite XC fight against James Thompson, Thompson had Slice pinned to the cage, and landed over 30 elbows and punches, without Kimbo ever advancing or moving his position for over 40 seconds. Vera had seconds left in the round and hadn’t even taken near the damage that Kimbo took, yet Dan figured he was done? Would the Vera fight not been stopped if he stayed still and ONLY absorbed the shots?

My question is do I need an explanation of the rules, or does Dan Miragliotta, because he’s not doing his job consistently. So was the Slice vs Thompson fight allowed to go too long? Was the Vera fight stopped too soon? Which time was his job not done correctly?

In a sport where a fighters pay is doubled based on winning the fight, this has to be addressed and dealt with.

Where was Yves Lavigne? In my opinion he is the best active MMA referee and top 3 of all time, yet he wasn’t working this card.

Boo to the UFC for not using the best referees they can. But for all I know Yves was busy, and they went with the best available people.

Sorry for all the questions in this article, but Puzzling is what it is, and there are a lot of answers needed.

Feel free to post your comments on this topic here. Do you agree or disagree?

11 Responses to “ MMA Refs NEED apply! ”

  1. Melissa Mestrovic says:

    Marc-Andre, I agree completely with you. With Big John McCarthy’s retirement, there is a serious void in the referree department. My heart broke for Vera who was clearly defending himself only to find himself the victim of yet another bunk Miragliotta stoppage with only 23 seconds left in the round. There are enough problems with questionable judging, the MMA world cannot sit back and let the reffing down the same road.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Jed Davidson says:

    I for one, have been a huge fan of mma since the very first Ultimate Fighting Championship. Since Ufc 69, I’ve been noticing alot of bad officiating. It’s starting to become more and more common. Could it be done on purpose to create controversy to stir up ppv buy rates? However, despite my consipiracy theory, I do believe that Steve Mazagatti has been guilty of terrible stoppages. Example Houston Alexander vs James Sandman Irving at UFC Fight Night 13 and Dan Mirglioatta (sp?) w/ Werdum vs Vera. Bad officiating has got to stop. Let fighters fight. This is not world wrestling entertainment. There is no room for this kind of #@$!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Thanks Melissa!

    I appreciate you finding us and commenting on our blog Jed Davidson. Are you signed up at our site? I bet you’d do well in predictions. (It’s 100% free)

    I find Mazagatti and Dean are very jumpy, and often are ready to stop the fight before they should even be thinking about it, and they are focusing where they are looking instead of what they should be doing.

    The Lesnar – Mir fight was terrible reffing. Even when Brock is tapping, Mazagatti is so close to his face looking at him, that he doesn’t notice the tapping initially. Plus there were other issues that fight.

    Also Mazagatti was terrible with the Doerksen vs MacDonald stoppage. He stopped the fight properly, and then didn’t establish position and MacDonald wasn’t sure what happened, and continued to hit Joe. (HE Damn well knew what he was doing, but if the ref was in position it wouldn’t have been possible.)

    Yves Lavigne is a fair and consistent referee and was the most exciting part of the Ortiz vs Machida fight.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. Tom Rees says:

    I agree that reffing an MMA match would be very difficult and that reffing has been slipping in the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

    You would think that the Zuffa Brothers and Dana White would have clued in by now. When a highly anticipated fight is starting (something like the second St. Pierre vs Matt Hughes fight) and there is a ref with a history of questionable calls, I stress out because I’m watching the fight to find out who would actually win in a fair fight, not to find out who won because the ref made a bad call.

    During UFC 85 I heard Miragliotta start a fight like like this:

    [points to the red corner] “Are you ready?”
    [signals the beginning of the fight with his hand] “fight”
    [points to the blue corner] “Are you ready?”

    When the ref asks the fighter if they are ready, I thought that the ref was actually checking to see if the fighters were ready before they started the fight. I wonder if Miragliotta thinks it’s just a thing that refs say before the fight starts.

    I’m tired of refs messing with my Cageplay picks!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Derek says:

    I believe that Yves Lavigne was working the TKO card that night. Which also saw some contraversy in the Steve Bosse fight.

    Perhaps Dan Miragliotta was feeling some heat from the Kimbo Slice fight and his nerves got the better of him and he jumped the gun on that call.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Bart says:

    There may be a shortage of great ref’s in the UFC, but what about just in general? UFC is the most dominant MMA provider right now, so I don’t see too many fights beyond them – but what about in other sports like judo or boxing? It seems that MMA is taking over market share from boxing, so it seems natural that it might absorb some of it’s professionals eventually.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Great Points Tom. It does seem like they are sometimes just going through the motions.

    Derek, but I bet Yves definately wasn’t working that controversial and goofy standup in that fight. If that ref had better control of the match, that wouldn’t have happened. I was at an event in Quebec last January, and the referees weren’t even using Gloves! In North Dakota we can’t even corner without rubber gloves.

    Bart, See in a sport like Judo, there is a whole system of how and when to score everything. Everything is still subject to opinion. But in the case of MMA there is no consistency with how matches should or have to be ruled.

    UFC is doing a great job of standardizing ,and since they are the biggest and most succesful MMA organization in the world, everybody is following suite, so we are slowly getting to the point where the rules should be unified.

    There also needs to be a ranking or level certification of referees, similar to that of Judo, where certain levels are allowed to ref certain types of matches. Maybe they can start guys out in prelims and work their way up til they earn their shot on the big cards?

    The problem with Boxing or any other sport coming into MMA is they need to learn our sport and how it works. Most boxing refs have as hard a time making the transition as boxers do . It’s not their instinct, so they tend to not be as knowledgable on the ground aspects of the fight game.

    But I can see how a properly trained Boxing referee with experience in Controlling the cage, and the fighters and commanding the respect a referee deserves.

    Kinda like with Melissa said about the lack of referee presence since Big John McCarthy retired from active duty.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  8. Dave says:

    I’d like to know how that finger to the eye on ufc fight night last night was not a disqualification? How can an illegal move like that be considered a TKO?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Marc-Andre says:

    There’s a good chance that fight will be overturned and will be a no contest.

    Definately a dissapointing way to lose.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  10. Keith Grienke says:

    While reffing has not been up to par, I believe it is much better than judging. Boxing judges should not be judging MMA fights!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. That’s a great point. Could be it’s own article talking about the judging in the sport of MMA.

    At least with boxing it was obvious who they wanted to win, in MMA it makes no sense how some of these people see the fight. Which is very bad considering the importance of their job to the sport!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1