MMA referees, contrary to popular belief, do not ‘belong’ to anyone combat promoters, such as the UFC or Bellator. Various athletic commissions have granted them licenses. Depending on the state or nation the MMA event is conducted in, the commission that permits them to work as a referee varies.
This implies that the UFC, like any other fighting organization, has no say over who works as a referee on their fight events. “We don’t work for Dana White,” MMA referee Steve Mazzagatti previously declared.
Dana White frequently rails about referees, telling the press that people like Mario Yamasaki make him ill and that he should never be permitted to work as a referee again.
Whatever Celtic deity White or the UFC might imagine of them, a number of them are officiation fights for years, if not decades. The top ten most well-known MMA referees are listed below.
When Leon Roberts worked at a video store and saw UFC competition films on the shelves, he became hooked on the sport.
This employment inspired him to begin training, and he now has over 20 years of mixed martial arts expertise, including black belt teacher status.
He didn’t have time to create an amateur referee resume because he was forced into a professional position with XFC right away.
Despite being from the United Kingdom, he quickly rose to prominence in the worldwide MMA scene and began refereeing UFC events. He soon rose through the ranks as a result of the respect he acquired as a referee in prior promotions:
“As soon as I go into the cage, my body goes into autopilot, regardless of where I am, how large the audience is, or who I am reffing.” Outside the cage, I can feel apprehensive… but as soon as I get into the cage, it’s as if I flip a switch and I’m ready for anything.”
Kevin MacDonald has begun to be the ‘authority within the cage’ for heaps of major MMA events. He wont to be a fighter himself (for the period of time of a dragonfly) wherever he have a tendency to go 1-0.
He isn’t specifically a fan-friendly referee, a minimum of not in 2020… He’s obtaining a notorious name for stopping fights so much too early. For example, he is known as a stop to Cutelaba vs Ankalaev once each fighter was still throwing punches at every other.
Typically, if a combatant appears to be defeated and is no longer ‘intelligently’ defending oneself, the referee will step in to halt the bout. Before stepping in to end a fight, officials may be heard shouting to fighters, “fight back” or “show me something.” If the combatant then begins to fight back, the referee should not halt the bout. Kevin appears to have skipped that class…
Even a famous MMA ref, John McCarthy, has spoken out against Kevin’s decision to stop the Cutelaba versus Ankalaev bout, calling it “horrendous.”
Josh Rosenthal may be a veteran MMA referee who was all right revered within the mixed martial arts community, for his ability to sense once a fighter has had enough and desires to be saved from themself.
This heavily tattooed officiator did create some mistakes, like each referee. However, he gained an enormous quantity of respect for owning up to his mistakes, one thing alternative refs and their egos appear incapable of doing.
Unfortunately, that’s not all there is to say about Josh, and he’ll be remembered for one more thing. He received a three-year jail term for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Clearly, being an MMA referee wasn’t enough to pay the bills…
He obviously couldn’t referee MMA fights from inside a jail cell, thus his career came to an abrupt halt. Who knows whether he’ll go back to refereeing bouts once he’s free. He was an excellent referee, and it was simply marijuana, but the organization may not want to be associated with a convicted felon. That is something that many firms do.
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Mario Yamasaki’s name appears on this list for the wrong reasons.
He has a distinctive hand motion in which he forms a love heart with both hands. If his prior rulings are any indication, this heart shape is to indicate that he will not call an MMA fight off until one fighter’s heart stops.
He has made a number of errors as a referee, causing the eye to roll upwards in several MMA bouts. When he announced he’d go on a referee course after allowing Priscila Cachoeira to take an incredible beating against Valentina Shevchenko for far, far too long, he may as well have declared that he wasn’t properly equipped to be in a cage.
He hasn’t been seen in the UFC’s Octagon since 2018, which is good news for MMA competitors everywhere. He has, however, taken some time off to improve and appears to be making a comeback. Let’s hope he’s learned a lot on his vacation!
Steve Mazzagatti, oh Steve Mazzagatti.
Remember, this is a list of the most well-known MMA referees, not the ‘best’ refs.
Steve Mazzagatti takes the proverbial cake when it comes to terrible decisions! There are montages on YouTube of his worst blunders, and there are a lot of them. It’s a mystery how he was given the authority to take control of fighters’ life in MMA battles.
He also oversaw Jon Jones’s lone loss, allowing Jones to attack Hamill long after Hamill had quit defending himself.
This isn’t a Mazzagatti bash, but his employment makes him responsible for the combatants’ health. In a sport where lifelong harm is a possibility, unskilled referees cannot be in charge. Fortunately for MMA athletes around, Steve hasn’t been spotted recently refereeing MMA matches.
“You don’t see Mazzagatti working anymore,” even John McCarthy stated once.
Marc Goddard is possibly the most well-known referee from the United Kingdom.
Marc is a Goddard is the first referee from the United Kingdom to be assigned to a UFC bout card. He subsequently went on to become the first UK MMA ref to be licensed to referee fights in the United States.
Doesn’t he sound like a nice guy? For a while, he was well-liked by both fans and combatants. However, Marc has recently made a few, shall we say, “strange” moves. Fans, combatants, and even pundits have been outraged by these fight calls.
MMA fighter with a mediocre professional record of 7-6. He appears to have found his niche as a combat referee.
The MMA community has chastised him for being arrogant and refusing to recognize his officiating blunders. Every referee makes mistakes; it’s unfortunate when this occurs, but such is life! However, Marc isn’t renowned for dismissing criticism and moving on, which would be the more logical choice.
Another MMA refereeing legend is Mike Beltran, who has the deadliest chunk of facial hair in the sport.
John McCarthy was Beltran’s officiating coach. Beltran comments on his Facebook page, “If it hadn’t been for Big John McCarthy’s altruistic devotion and belief in me, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Mike has worked as an official for the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and King Of The Cage. So he’s been around the MMA block a few times!
He’s likely most known for his massive Viking-style mustache, which extends below his belt and sparks a lot of debate among MMA fans.
His mustache is renowned enough to overshadow Derek Brunson and Ian Heinisch in their fight. Mike folded up his beard, most likely to keep it out of the way, and the MMA world panicked, assuming that he had cut it off.
There will be no nonsense Dan Miragliotta is a character in the film Dan Miragliotta. By the way, that isn’t his nickname, but it does describe his refereeing approach.
Dan is a huge man who establishes himself as the ‘authority’ inside the cage in every battle.
Dan has become a well-known public personality in the sport of mixed martial arts due to the sheer amount of notable fights he’s refereed, many of which were on major UFC fight nights.
Miragliotta is well known for his rivalry with Michael ‘Venum’ Page, a Bellator Welterweight contender. In the MMDan has officiated a couple of MVPs ‘ fights, and it’s clear that he despises his obnoxious showboating. When MVP pretended to snap a photo of himself on top of Richard Kiely, he even deducted a point from him.
A world, MVP, as he is nicknamed, is a well-known showboater. In his bouts, he flaunts a lot of his skills, which some people find funny, while others don’t.
‘BIG’ JOHN MCCARTHY
The book about MMA officiating was written by John McCarthy. He literally assisted in the creation of the present unified regulations of MMA!
Rorion Gracie used to be Big John’s disciple, and when Gracie was putting together his new combat promotion, he requested John to be the referee (due to his past in law enforcement). At UFC 2, he made his MMA refereeing debut. UFC TWO, to be exact.
In the UFC, Big John is regarded as a Godfather figure! Over the course of his career, he has refereed over 500 mixed martial arts matches. He was also the action referee for practically all of the major MMA fights in recent history.
In 2015, 2016, and 2017, he was named a referee of the year three times.
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