MMA has become a pretty regular sport over the past 15 or so years, with rules, regulations and everything else falling into place. Oddly enough, with all of those strides towards legitimacy we’ve still seen a shocking lack of cohesion when it comes to refereeing and judging, with bad judging costing fighters wins on a regular basis and bad refereeing possibly getting in the way of a fighter being safe in the ring. On Friday night Josh Burkman choked Jon Fitch out cold, not an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination, but referee Steve Mazzagatti was nowhere to be found for the call.
So much so that Burkman rolled Fitch over, let go of the hold, got up and motioned for the ref. Now, I’ve never really considered myself a Josh Burkman fan, but Burkman releasing the hold to prevent further damage was a very sporting thing to do, even though he was legally allowed to keep the hold in place until the ref stops the fight. Mazzagatti was comically out of position and standing a few feet away before realizing that the fight was over and that he missed it.
Dana White’s only thoughts on the fight were not the usual “:)” when a guy that he let go of for being a pain loses, but was outrage at Mazzagatti messing up yet again, this time with the winning fighter having to be the one to stop the fight and prevent further damage from happening to Fitch. He went full blast on Mazzagatti this weekend, to which he demanded that NSAC fire Mazzagatti. Well, Keith Kizer of NSAC responded and according to him, it is a non-story.
According to him, it was simply like a fighter landing a knockout punch on their opponent and walking away, while also citing that color commentator Bas Rutten was confused as to what was happening as well.
I think that the whole point is that the ref has the best seat in the house and that it is their job to protect the fighters. What do you guys think?