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Referee Marc Goddard Explains his Close Involvement in Grant vs. Vera

Matthew Wells



UFC Fight Night London certainly had its unique moments.

One of which was referee Marc Goddard’s very vocal involvement in the fight between Davey Grant and Marlon Vera. Eventually taking points away from Vera, who was repeatedly grasping the inside of his opponent’s glove for added leverage, Goddard was clearly heard giving multiple warnings to Vera before and after taking a point away from the fighter. Even at the conclusion of the bout, Goddard continued to have a conversation with Vera about his actions throughout the fight.

Marc wrote a lengthy post on his Facebook account to break down his thoughts and explain his feelings about why he was so adamant during the fight:

I’ve never really committed to a word-press/blog/website update type scenario before as in truth I just never felt the need to but the unsettling angst inside me compelled and urged me to at least offer something. Please fell free to copy and distribute as you may wish and as always I welcome all comments. Maybe its against my own better judgment, probably, do I write this – its not that I don’t really want to it’s that I‘ve tried this before. My apologies in advance for the lengthy content but it do hope that in the long run you find it useful – and without cliché to enhance your viewing of future bouts.

I’ve tried to give an insight, I’ve tried to give an education, I’ve tried to give an explanation to offer some sort of balance and understanding into our world. I viewed it as some sort of personal fulfillment and responsibility. Giving back to the sport that has given me so much? Who, what, where and why we do what we do sometimes. But I’ve found the effect much like pouring a glass of milk into a swimming pool. A growing cloud with clear visible effect – quickly dissipated, absorbed and lost to the surrounding mass. Totally engulfed and washed away [quickly] without any prior visible trace. Its why I decided a few years ago not to offer public interaction and explanation – instead I concentrated my efforts on those that where willingly attending to listen to the betterment of the sport, it’s officials and the training thereof. It’s an unrealistic notion to expect the fans and spectators of any sport to know an officials role – it’s simply not their job but in offering an insight I could at least rest a little easier knowing that I contributed to at least trying to bridge the gap.

Sometimes we have a clearer path on our evening’s journeys, sometimes we are totally engulfed and immersed start to finish and leave feeling mentally exhausted – it’s a lottery in terms of expectancy, never replicated. On the contrary to others belief when I referee I don’t want to talk, ever. I never want to hear the sound of my own voice. All I want to say is the words “lets do this” and “stop” 3 or 5 times per fight. That is all I ever want. I have reffed so many unbelievable bouts the World over and remained anonymous in doing so time after time and that is a referees utopia – believe me because the reality of our job is – when you do your job, just your job, what you are paid to do then people don’t talk shit about you. And I am totally at peace and acceptance with that. Just for a moment – apply that same thought process to your daily work. Interesting no?

I have had the honour of being the man in the middle for so many fight of the year candidates and winners – Aldo Mendes 2 in Brazil, Condit Hendricks in Canada, Stann v Silva in Japan to name but a few – very few, even die hard fans could tell you that I was the referee for these bouts. Utopia indeed. “The best referees are the ones you don’t see and hear” I couldn’t agree more. But what people fail to realize is that end goal simply does not lie in the hands of the referee entirely. Two fighters enter, fight within the confines of the rules and leave after 15 or 25 minutes I guarantee you that I you will never hear me or any other referee of note and experience exceed the “start/stop” max word count rationale. This I will promise you. But what happens when those said confines are breached? What happens when our personal preference max word count has to be broken? We have to speak, it’s our job and now just like every step movement, position and action – the same close scrutiny can now be placed upon what you say and how you say it.

I had a very interesting and action filled evening when working last night at UFC London – in particular the bout between Marlon Vera and Davey Grant. I start the fight in my normal fashion and true to form with my sole intention on my next word being “stop” exactly 5 minutes later. At a point in that first round you will hear me warn Vera for holding the fence, short concise and in normal fashion. Grant also communicated to me before my first intervention that his glove [fingers inside the cuff] was being held but I can only react to what I see. You will then see me stop the action when Vera was on his back and Grant stood in his guard for the same finger in cuff glove holding Grant was signifying to me earlier. Only this time I did see. I do not stand the fighter [Vera] up as that would be of detriment to the standing fighter who was not committing the foul – instead I issue my warning and allow the fight to continue.

In the second round you will hear me interject again – as the same fingers in cuff process happened once more, this when I decided to stand the fighters at the same point anyway. So now that’s three warning within one and half rounds [on top of my pleading in between rounds]. People remark upon my tone at times – please think of this. It’s a fight, in an arena, with 16,000 people. It’s not a doctors waiting room. When a fighter may not be taking note of your prior warnings your natural instinct may be to escalate your tone – its called authority, I’m a referee – not a mother. I’m there to be listened to and obeyed [only when prompted to speak] and at times my tone and message will be stern. That’s my job. We move to the third round and for the third time in three consecutive rounds the same foul was committed. My verbal call out of the point deduction was again in the same fashion of referees talking during fights – we only want to break the action and alter the potential flow of the fight when absolutely necessary – so when the top fighter is the one being fouled stopping them, standing them up, issuing the warning again and deducting the point is the wrong course of action as any experienced referee would agree.

A couple of points of note – people commentated on me asking for the translator at the end of round two. This was a deliberate act out of consideration for the TV and watching audience as I didn’t want anyone to think that Vera was at a disadvantage from my communications – he wasn’t as he understands, spoke and speaks great English just as we did between each other in the dressing room in my fighter meeting rule debrief before the fights began. It was a consideration call I was making. People also remarked again about my stern tone and my comment of “I’m in charge” again back to the repeated warnings issues, it’s a fight, its loud, and prior warnings are not being adhered to – remember I’m a referee! :)

People often ask “what is the role of a ref”? and “what do you actually do”? and I tell them – its simple, I travel the world to get shouted at! you may have heard me refer to the fact about referees often being damned if they do, damned if they don’t and in super charged atmospheres like last night with multiple interventions of a referee being called upon it provides a great example, discussion and learning point. What if I had chose to not act upon repeated fouls, what if the same action led to an arm being dragged back in for a fight ending submission, what if the same repeated fouls went unpunished and said fighter had won a super close razor thin decision? What if that had happened? What position/discussions would I find myself in today?

And now the part that no one sees, that no camera picks up. The young man in question Mr Vera approached me after the fight backstage to apologize for his conduct and that I had to act. I tell him that he doesn’t have to – as I certainly don’t need one, I certainly don’t expect one, all I want is this talented young man to think, be more considered in his approach and allow his skills to give him the fairest possible outcome in his fights. He accepts and we shake hands and my heart goes out to him as I recognize so much. The actual acts he was committing can be instinctual form years or training in a Gi – gripping and holding “something” and I recognize this but I am forced to act when a repeated warning [not a single act] are not adhered to. Its not always so clear as signifying the “intent” in “intentional” !

I hope that you found this useful, helpful or insightful in some way. I hope that I can update or offer such insights once more – but I do contribute and write on a regular basis for Fighters Only magazine where such instances are broken down in detail. Remember we are humans, I strive for perfection and aim for it every single time. The need for improvement and review remains constant and believe me there is not a harsher critique in this world of me than myself! Again my apologies for the lengthy content but I hope that you can appreciate, and its every day! :)

My closing words are of thanks to both Mr Vera and Mr Grant for a fast paced action packed and exciting fight totally regardless of any interjections that I had to make. That was a super display of modern day mixed martial arts. I look forward to you both excelling in your forthcoming careers.

Many thanks.


For the latest MMA news, live event coverage, and more, follow @mmalatestnws on Twitter.

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UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event



Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.

GDANSK, POLAND – OCTOBER 21: (R-L) Darren Till of England punches Donald Cerrone in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Ergo Arena on October 21, 2017 in Gdansk, Poland. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.

He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.

In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.

UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.

The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.

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Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation



Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.

Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.

Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.

From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.

The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
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Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198



Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.

Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).

Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.

In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.

The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.

Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.

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