MMA Fighter Dies at EFC Africa 28
When you fight in the ring, your life, literally, is in the hands of the referee. Being an MMA referee is a huge responsibility, and not one that should be taken lightly. It's for this reason that we at ELITE MMA Referees feel only experienced martial artists should be certified as MMA ref's, and those ref's should be properly trained!
Unfortunately, MMA Referee Wiekus Swart, did not seem to know that hitting to the back of an opponent's head, let alone using hammer fists,is considered ILLEGAL and a great, big NO-NO in MMA. So while Christophe Walravens was delivering hammer fist after hammer fist to his dazed and defenseless opponent, Bernardo Mikixi, Swart just stood and watched. It was only when Mikixi finally managed to break away, turn over onto his back, wave away his opponent and verbally submit, that Swart called the fight. At one point, even Walravens turned to the ref in exasperation, as if to say "Well - are you going to stop this fight or what?"
Sadly - Bernardo Mikixi died from head trauma.
In one month, fights at EFC Africa ended in the deaths of two combatants; meaning they have single-handedly increased the number of MMA-related deaths worldwide by 100%. And not only did NOT acknowledge there was not a problem, but they thanked "all involved for an exceptional event", passed out performance bonuses to the fighters in the "epic bout" as they called it, and did not even mention the incident during the post-fight news conference.
Granted, if there is a Athletic Commission in Africa that is overseeing the training and Certification of officials, then they need to take a cold, hard look at their policies for approving referees. If, as it's done in many other countries, promotions hire their own ref's to officiate MMA fights, then EFC Africa needs to make some changes - and fast.
Especially when one considers another one of their fighters died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring, just a couple of weeks before! According to Scott Harris, in his article on Bleacher Report: "On Thursday, EFC Africa chose to honor Booto Guylain by having its fighters wear those armbands. Guylain passed away March 5 because of injuries he suffered in the cage at EFC Africa 27, the event that directly preceded Thursday's EFC 28."
Jonathan Snowden, in his tweet to @SnideMMAsa, suggested: "First step has to be making sure that ref never steps in a cage again. Then huge emphasis on education and training for others."
We agree. And we'd love the opportunity to work with the African Athletic Commission, and help train their MMA Referees and Judges on the Rules, Regulations and background on legal and illegal techniques during an MMA fight.
To read more of Harris' article, please go here: After Fighter Death and Horrendous Stoppage, EFC Africa Should Reexamine Itself.