Gene LaBell Talks the Current State of MMA Judging and Refereeing
You may have hear of Gene LaBell, famed Judo master known for his time in the pro wrestling circuit with National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). "Judo" has also taught art of grappling to such notables as Roddy Piper, Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee, Karo Parisyan and woman's new Strikeforce Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey.
According to Adam Guillen Jr. of SBNation.com, LeBell has a problem with the current state of MMA judging and refeeeing: "I have a beef with judging and refereeing. To me, I don't think you should ever be able to judge or referee unless you have a physical background in that art. I'm a big fan of professional football, but I'm not qualified to be a judge. In MMA, it's the flavor of the month and everyone wants to be a judge or a referee. I see a lot of referees that could use a little bit more instruction. I think it should be mandatory for these judges to go to Mauy Thai schools, go to Judo schools, go to Greco Roman schools, go to freestyle wrestling schools, Kempo, Shotokan, Taekwondo, all those schools and learn a little bit of everything. You want to know if a body slam hurts more than a left hook and how much damage can something get? You have to be on the mat or in the ring to know the difference. It's my humble opinion."
Do you agree with LeBell? We at ELITE MMA Referees feel it's important to have trained in at least one, if not more, of the martial arts, before even thinking about becoming an MMA referee or MMA judge and taking one of our Workshops. In fact, unless you're taking one of our classes for research purposes or just to learn the basics, we usually don't want you signing up for the courses unless you HAVE trained. Not so sure one needs to train in all of the martial arts systems out there, but it would be good to start out with at least a basic knowledge and continue your training from there.