WEC 47 Referee Jerry Poe - in his own words
Jerry Poe – a member of the ELITE MMA Referee community, has been ref’ing MMA
fights since 1999, in both Ohio and Indiana. On March 6th, 2010 at the
Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, Jerry Poe was assigned to referee
the Danny Castillo vs. Anthony Pettis and Deividas Taurosevicius vs. L.C. Davis fights at WEC 47.
In the 2nd Round of the Taurosevicius
vs. Davis fight, Taurosevicius kneed Davis in the groin - and the look
on Davis’ face left no doubt he was in pain. He also pointed to “the
area” and motioned to Poe, but Poe didn’t intervene, saying that he
didn’t see the foul, so he couldn’t call it.
In spite of his background and
experience, Jerry Poe has since received some flack for failing to stop
the fight and give Davis his 5 minutes of recovery time. The question
is: if you don’t see a foul, can you stop the fight, accidental or
not? In the Castillo vs. Pettis bout, Castillo bullied Pettis into the
cage and landed a hard knee to the groin that doubled Pettis over - but
Poe saw this foul, stepped in and stopped the fight to allow Pettis
time to recover.
The MMA Referee's Code of Ethics says “I call what I see and only what I see. It is what it is.” and according to Jerry Poe, that’s just what he did.
I talked with Poe in depth about his
experience at WEC 47, his background and previous ref’ing experiences
for some other MMA promotions, such as Bellator, Phantom Fight
Explosion and Iron Tiger Challenge in Ohio.
ONE REFEREE’S EXPERIENCE AT WEC 47
BY JERRY POE
Though the years of trials and tribulations from competitor to referee, here is my point of view on working the WEC 47,
March 6, 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It was a great
opportunity and exhilarating experience. It was also a great learning
experience, something that I can use moving forward in my professional
career as a referee.
I arrived at the Arnold Classic Trade
Show for the Friday night weigh-ins around noon. I walked around the
trade show until I had to check in at the official’s room at 4:00 p.m.
to be walked to the center stage for weigh-ins starting at 5:00 p.m. in
front of 170,000 people at the trade show. After the weigh-ins were
done, I went backstage and conducted the fighters’ Rules Meeting for
the following night’s event. Mr. Reed Harris, the General Manager and
Founder of the W.E.C., complimented fellow referee Mark Matheny and
myself on conducting a very professional rules meeting. The rules
meeting lasted approximately 45 minutes and then we were done for the
night. I then attended the amateur fight show that night at another
Columbus venue. Ohio is known for running more MMA shows than any other
state in the country.
following day I arrived back at the Arnold Classic trade show at noon.
I walked around the trade show until 4:00 p.m., at which time I walked
to the venue at Nationwide Arena. I hung around backstage, was checked
out by the doctor, received my assignments, and had an official’s
meeting at approximately 5:15 p.m. which lasted about thirty minutes. I
was in the rotation with three other referees, Kevin Mulhull, Mark
Matheny, and Greg Franklin. The assignments were to collect cards,
check the fighters as they entered cage side, rest, and then referee
the fight itself – always on assignment during the whole show.
I thought the action went well.
Although, when I was in the cage in front of 8,500 people watching
live, I have to admit it was a little nerve wracking. One fight had an
explosive knock out, and I had to dive in to protect the other fighter.
During the other fight, I was constantly separating the fighters and
encouraging them to fight off the cage and improve their positions.
Our job as a referee is to ensure
safety first, to enforce the rules and to keep the fight moving. At the
start of each fight, I make sure the fighters understand what is going
on, pull them to the center, give the pre-fight expectations, try not
to stumble over them, then send them back to their corners and start
To control the action in the cage,
always try to be at 45 or 90 degree angles from the fighters. When on
the ground I try to stay up top by their head and try to look for their
free hand in case they are tapping. I am constantly moving around,
circling to view all angles. You must be confident and in control of
the action at all times. I only call what I see; if I don’t see it I
don’t call it.
Referees are the most unpopular
people in all of sports and you have to have thick skin. Referees are
only human, we don’t see everything, but we do our best to catch all
infractions. Referees need to be confident in their calls and believe
in their abilities.
Be true to your
refereeing style, it is what got you to that level and don’t change for
the magnitude of the event. Be true to yourself.
In closing, I want to thank the Ohio Athletic Commission, the WEC,
and everyone along the way that helped me get this far. Special thanks
goes out to Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, Bernie
Profato and all the other inspectors for their hard work and continued
To all current and future referees, remember - just do what got you there...
Interestingly, it should be
noted the judges scored the fight 29-29, 29-28, 29-28, with a majority
decision in favor of Davis, so not calling time for this foul did not
affect the outcome of this fight – except maybe it made Davis fight in
anger and motivate him even harder to win?
Jerry Poe’s Bio: I
started in Karate 29 years ago. I have competed in Karate, Sanshou and
MMA. I currently run American Vital Karate, School of Self Defense. I
have competed on two United States teams in Australia, Hungary, Canada,
England, Mexico and Russia. I have earned several National titles, two
silver medals and one gold medal at the Word Cup of Martial Arts. I am
also a member of the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
My refereeing career started in 1999 in Ohio before the Athletic
Commission was put in place. I have also refereed in Indiana. I have
since been licensed by the Ohio Athletic Commission and have been
refereeing for the O.A.C. since. I have refereed in events such as
Intimidation Cage Fighting at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, and
Bellator at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio, prior to refereeing the WEC 47
at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. I am the head referee for
Phantom Fight Explosion and Iron Tiger Challenge in Ohio. It was an
honor and privilege to get the call from Executive Director, Bernie
Profato to work the WEC 47. event.