The MMA world gained a new celebrity last Saturday night in referee Eduardo Herdy after his controversial decision in the Drew Dober and Leandro Silva match up, and with this, opening the flood gates on bad refereeing in MMA.
With MMA having so many components, it’s hard for ref’s to make the right call every time, but sometimes they make decisions that are downright wrong on every level. Here is our list of some terrible MMA referee decisions.
Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah D’Alelio –Strikeforce Challengers 18, referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Ronda did what Ronda does in this fight, securing a judo toss and subsequent armbar just 20 seconds into the bout, but mere moments after clamping down on D’Alelio’s arm the fight was stopped by referee Steve Mazzagatti with no sign of a tap or snap.
The replay revealed that Mazzagatti was prompted to stop the fight because Rousey quite clearly tells him that Sarah had tapped already.
In reality there was no degree of verbal or physical tap from D’Alelio whatsoever, and in fact the arm was arguably at the wrong angle to cause maximum damage creating a twisting of the arm rather than a bending at the elbow.
Regardless, the decision stands as one of Rousey’s quickest finish wins, and we can’t help but think a rematch would go pretty much the same way regardless of the terrible referee.
Josh Burkman vs. Jon Fitch – WSOF 3, referee: Steve Mazzagatti
Despite being held by another promotion, this fights terrible stoppage caused even the president of the UFC Dana White to voice his outrage.
Less than 30 seconds into the contest, Burkman drops Fitch with a combination of hooks, and after a short scramble Josh is able to pull guard and lock in a guillotine choke, ending with Burkman voluntarily releasing the hold and rolling over the now unconscious Fitch, all before referee Steve Mazzagatti was ever in the picture.
This stoppage caused outrage in quite the opposite way of the Rousey/D’Alelio contest, this time Mazzagatti being criticised for failing to recognise Fitch had been put to sleep.
Steve Mazzagatti failed to check on Fitch throughout the choke, deciding to just stand in a corner of the cage and not pay the fight infront of him much attention, until he sees the out cold Fitch lying on his back and finally decides the fight is now over.
Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig – UFC 115, referee: Yves Lavigne
Another prime example of referees listening to fighters in all the wrong ways.
At 1:45 of the first round Wiman had Danzig in all sorts of trouble with a mounted guillotine choke locked in, Wiman goes on to tell referee Yves Lavigne that Danzig is ‘out’ causing Yves to stop the contest, when actually Danzig was neither asleep or had submitted.
The fight ending sequence was up for much debate, on one side of the fence the ref simply cannot take what one fighter says in the contest for gospel, while on the other Yves did touch Danzig’s arm and it was limp.
Danzig argues that he was just relaxing into the choke to open up escapes because he wasn’t in any danger, being supported by many BJJ practitioners saying the guillotine wasn’t even properly locked in, something you’d hope an MMA ref would be able to notice.
Thankfully this fight was later partially resolved with a rematch between the two, which Wiman won via unanimous decision, but the controversial stoppage to their first contest still resides on both men’s records.
Pat Curran vs. Joe Warren – Bellator 60, referee: Jeff Malott
MMA is a brutal sport, but the way this Bellator Featherweight title fight ended does nothing to help the sport or its officials seem any more professional.
In the third round, challenger Curran lands a huge standing knee to the jaw of the champion Warren, causing him to stagger back to the cage visibly hurt. Following this up with a simply barbaric barrage of punches and knees sees Warren staggered and nearly dropped a further three times, with only the cage stopping the champions fall.
Despite this and Warren’s only defense being putting his arms out stretched and at one point even turning his back to Curran, referee Jeff Malott amazingly saw no reason to stop the contest.
The fight finally ended with a barrage of three or four unanswered uppercuts to the already unconscious Warren showcasing a new world champion, and an MMA fight that simply went on way too long.
Matt Riddle vs. Chris Clements – UFC 149, referee: Josh Rosenthal
This stoppage may not have ended the contest, but was controversial non the less, when referee Josh Rosenthal confuses a legal body kick with a low blow.
With 2:20 left of the first round Matt Riddle unloads a perfect body kick to Clements causing his foe to back up to the fence with his hands on his knees, causing referee Josh Rosenthal to step in, not to stop the fight, but to give Clements a breather.
Despite Riddle’s cries of ‘it hit his body’ and Clements not calling a low blow, Rosenthal saw fit to step in only to restart the fight seconds later after recognising his mistake.
Although this stoppage was only a few seconds long, it arguably gave Clements the time he needed to recover from the possibly fight ending shot. Clements would go on to succumb to an arm triangle choke in the third round, but the fight was eventually ruled a no contest due to Riddle failing a drug test.
Erik Perez vs. John Albert – The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale, referee: Kim Winslow
Another example of a submission stoppage out of nowhere, when referee Kim Winslow decides pulling a face constitutes a tap.
Early into the first round after mounting John Albert, Erik Perez transitions beautifully into a belly-down armbar. Being in obvious pain, Albert attempts to circle his legs around the head of Perez to escape the submission until Winslow steps in to stop the contest despite no verbal or physical tap.
The replay would show that Winslow stopped the fight due to the grimace on Albert’s face and his obvious discomfort in the submission, but as all good MMA fans know this is not reason enough to call off a fight.
We would love to see Winslow be locked in an armbar by a professional fighter and not have a painful look on her face.
Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber – UFC 169, referee: Herb Dean
Despite being one of the best ref’s in the game, even Herb Dean can stumble every now and then, and this one being a UFC bantamweight title fight is one hell of a blunder.
After being dropped with a huge right hand earlier in the fight, Urijah is wobbled again by an overhand courtesy of Barao and goes down, but manages to secure an arm around Barao’s leg while in the sprawl position.
Holding on with one arm and covering his head with the other Faber would think he had time to recover, until Herb Dean stops the fight causing Faber to immediately protest showing he was in no way out of the fight.
Controversy continued in the replay as it showed Faber was in fact giving Dean the thumbs up showing he didn’t want the fight stopped, nevertheless, Barao retained his title and Faber would have just his third stoppage loss in nearly 40 fights.
Dana White gives an update on the lightweight title picture
When it comes to the lightweight division there is always a lot of talk with very little clarification. But now it seems Dana White has had enough of waiting for champion Conor McGregor and plans to move on in his absence.
“The Notorious” Conor McGregor won the UFC lightweight title back in November 2016 at UFC 205 where he became the first fighter to hold two belts simultaneously, however, he has not competed in MMA since.
Speaking on Sunday night’s after UFC Fight Night St. Louis UFC President Dana White said “Conor has said he is thinking about coming back in September if he comes back in September that’s almost two years, that can’t happen. It’s not fair to everybody else. Love Conor, respect Conor, love everything he’s done for this company, everybody knows that I say it all the time. The belt would have to move on.”
White also spoke about the two men that would fight for the lightweight belt saying “You do Khabib versus Tony, we’re working on that fight now and if and when Conor comes back he would get the first crack at the title.”
Then when presenter Karyn Bryant pushed for clarification and asked: “So you’re saying that Conor could possibly be stripped of his title?” Dana responded without hesitation “absolutely”.
"Conor has said he's thinking about coming back in September. If he comes back in September, that's almost two years…that can't happen." — @danawhite
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 15, 2018
The news will excite UFC fans across the globe who have been clamoring for the Ferguson vs Khabib matchup which they have been denied on three separate occasions. No date was confirmed for the potential matchup but rumors have been circulating that the UFC is targeting UFC 223 in April.
Dana White gives update on Conor McGregor and the lightweight division
The top end of the UFC’s lightweight division is thriving. Dustin Poirer defeated former division champion Anthony Pettis, in dominant fashion. Tony Ferguson won the lightweight division’s interim title by carving Kevin Lee from his back. Safe to say, no everyday person would ever want to see Khabib Nurmagomedov down a damp and dark alley. Don’t forget, the gutsy performance of Eddie Alvarez stealing Justin Gaethje’s undefeated record away. The division is thriving like gas attempting to escape a shaken champagne bottle.
On Friday, UFC President, Dana White, spoke to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, about a number of topics. One, which came up fairly quickly; Conor McGregor and his stranglehold on the lightweight belt. The pair began talking about recent performances inside the octagon when the illustrious name of, Khabib Nurmagomedov, came up. White claimed, “Conor always finds a way to win. When he hits you, you go…”. Then speaking of the potential bout between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, “I love that matchup but, Tony Ferguson is the interim champion. Conor and I haven’t really figured out when he’s coming back and what’s going on…”. He continued, “I don’t think Conor wants to fight until August, but if he waits until August or September, that’s around two years since the belt has been defended and that can’t happen”.
Iole followed up by asking, due to circumstances, does McGregor owe it to the sport to defend his title? The UFC president agreed, “And to the other fighters. Not only to the sport but, to the other fighters. This is a game of time… when you’re a professional athlete, time is your enemy and we can’t let this thing go on forever and not give other guys the opportunity. Tony Ferguson has been around for a long time and has earned his dues, Khabib has earned his dues… Conor has done very well, he’s made a lot of money, and if he decides that he doesn’t want to fight again for another however long that’s up to him… but, the belt has to move on… we gotta figure some stuff out here in the next couple months”.
It only makes sense that the UFC wants progression in the one-hundred and fifty-five lb. division. Even without their massive revenue generator, the division must move on. Athletes like Nurmagomedov may be relatively unknown outside the MMA community in the United States but, his official Instagram page holds 3.2 million followers. While Tony Ferguson may not hold online notoriety, he does have an exciting style. A style that could win a good many of fans, the more exposure he receives.
For White, one of these two men must fight for the division’s championship title. When asked about what is next, he stated, “As long as Conor is willing to fight by March, we could do Khabib versus Tony and then the winner fights Conor… or Conor doesn’t wanna fight and wants to sit out till next fall. Then we would have to make Khabib vs. Tony for the title”.
Time can be the only truth serum in this particular situation. The UFC brass has spoken of forcing McGregor to vacate his lightweight title for some time. Yet, nothing has happened. On the other hand, it would be more than surprising to see the division’s belt sit on the shelf for another year. Considering it all, including the status of contenders and depth of the division, the bottleneck created by one man never ceases to amaze.
Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win at UFC 219
On Saturday night the world watched as Khabib Nurmagomedov dismantled the striking expert Edson Barboza at UFC 219. The reactions were filled with praise for the undefeated Russian fighter. Media members and fans alike were calling Nurmagomedov one of the best lightweights in the world, but there is one man the world was waiting to hear from, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor. McGregor was silent following the fight between Nurmagomedov and Barboza, that is until Monday morning when he took to Twitter to state his opinion about the Number one contender.
That Dagestani was dog shit the other night you's are all nuts. Game full of sloppy bums asking to be slept. Pay me my worth and Kings back.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me. Otherwise I don't give a bollox.
My whiskey is out this year and thats Diddy bread.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 1, 2018
“Truly truly truly get on your fucking knees and beg me,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “Otherwise, I don’t give a bollox. My whiskey is out this year and that’s Diddy bread.” The whiskey that McGregor is referring to is his very own grand that he announced would be coming out following his loss to Floyd Mayweather this past August.
Rumors about McGregor’s return have ranged from him retiring from fighting to live a life of wealth with his family, to expect his return to the UFC this summer. No one really knows if McGregor will ever defend his UFC lightweight belt, but if he is to do so UFC President Dana White has said that it will be against interim champion Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson was also seeking a fight with Nurmagomedov prior to winning the interim belt against Kevin Lee. It is entirely possible that we will see these two battle for the interim title in the octagon before we see the return of Conor McGregor. Of course, these days there are no guarantees in regards to title contention, McGregor and his camp have publically stated that they would like to face Nurmagomedov in his home country of Russia.
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