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Charles "Mask" Lewis -
"Do greatness -- leave average to the lazy.”

“I just want to mean something someday. Be more than someone who could have been, hopefully more than meets the eye, more than face paint, someone that will honestly make you proud.”

Referee Marc Wasem -
"Touch gloves, go back to your gloves. Uh, corners." – (giving the final instructions to Torres and Mizugaki)

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Time to Give MMA Referees some Credit!

Cecil Peoples (image courtesy of his article entitled "Dana White rips MMA referees too" - Anthony Gannon, the Newark (NJ) MMA Examiner, says: "Refereeing is a thankless job. You’re blasted if you stop the fight too soon, and you’re blasted again if you wait too long. The difference between a quick stoppage and letting someone take a couple of unnecessary blows is a couple of seconds. Mistakes will be made."

How true - and certainly something we've written about in the past. Interestingly, however, he brings up a new idea. We tend to blame MMA refs for everything that goes wrong in a fight, right? So why don't we give them credit when things go right?

"If we’re to blame referees for everything that goes wrong in the cage then surely we must also praise them for all that goes right. Dana White is big on boasting of the UFC’s record for fighter safety. He loves to tell anyone who will listen that in the history of the UFC there’s never been a death or serious injury. That’s pretty amazing. But why is that? It’s not just because of the rules and regulations and weight divisions, all the things that the current owners, Zuffa, embraced when they bought the company in 2001. It’s also because of that third person in the cage solely responsible for fighter safety: the referee."

Makes sense to me, and a great point of view. Like Gannon says: "So let’s hold referees accountable, but let’s also give a little credit where it's due." Nice. 


The Five Worst Ref's in MMA?

In his article "The Five Worst Referees in MMA Today," Matt Juul, Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, says "Other than fighting in the cage, having the occupation of refereeing a bout may be one of the hardest jobs in mixed martial arts." I have to say I agree with that statement. It's not only difficult, but it's a highly unappreciated job.

He then says: "Like in any other sport, a good referee is almost invisible during a fight, only interjecting themselves when the need arises. However, when a referee is forced into the forefront of a fan's consciousness, it is usually for a negative reason. MMA has had its share of officials who repeatedly botch calls to the chagrin of fighters and fans alike."

Very true - a favorite MMA Referee one week can quickly feel the pain of the fans' sting the next, if it's felt they've mis-called a fight.

So who does Juul list as the five worst referees in MMA today?

1 - Steve Mazzagatti
2 - Dan Miragliotta
3 - Larry Landless
4 - Cecil Peoples
5 - Yves Lavigne

Now - truth be told, we at EMMAR don't necessarily agree with his list, or the order of worse to worst, but that's just us. For example, Mazzagatti was never really that bad, but I personally had major issues with his stoppage in the bout between Ronda Rousey and Sarah D'Alelio (see the video.) I mean - come on now, what was Mazz thinking?


Ronda Rousey with Gene LeBellGene 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, 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."

Read what EMMAR thinks!

CSAC adjusts payscale for MMA officials

World Boxing Association World Boxing Organization  World Boxing Council 
International Boxing Organization   International Boxing Ultimate Fighting Championships 


At the California State Athletic Commission's meeting on February 9th, 2012, a vote was taken to adjust the payscale for MMA officials.

Per their official press release, the Officials Pay Structure will be paid using the pay scale below.  This includes Boxing, MMA, Muay Thai and Kickboxing officials:







































Pay Per View






A new pay per view event fee has been added to increase the pay of the officials involved with the main event of a pay per view telecast.

Pay Structure for Recognized World Championship Bouts

~  Including interim and vacant championship
~  Depending on the magnitude of the event and/or the boxer’s purse 

WBA – World Boxing Association

WBO – World Boxing Organization 

WBC – World Boxing Council  

IBF – International Boxing Organization 

IBO – International Boxing Organization

UFC – Ultimate Fight Championship 

Pay: Referee: $1,900  --  Judge:  $1,600 --  Timekeeper:  $400 

Pay Structure for Regional Championship Bouts

~ Including interim and vacant championship
~ Depending on the magnitude of the event and/or the boxers’ purse 

* WBA – World Boxing Association

WBO – World Boxing Organization 

WBC – World Boxing Council 

IBF – International Boxing Organization 

IBO – International Boxing Organization 

Any Other – Promotional Titles 

Pay: Referee: $600 --  Judge: $500 -- Timekeeper:  $300 

Officials will be entitled to compensation of $100 if an event is cancelled by the promotion company. This fee will be approved by the California State Athletic Commission’s management team.


10-8 Round? 10-4!

Written by Barry Lindenman

Although I don’t have any empirical evidence to back up my suspicion, my guess is that the distribution of scores recorded from all rounds in mixed martial arts bouts would resemble the normal distribution typically associated with a bell curve. That means that 80% of the scores would fall within the “standard normal” score of a 10-9 round with the less frequent scores of 10-8 and 10-10 representing the “standard deviations” from the norm lying on the outside perimeters:

10-8 is 10-4


Unlike the casual fan who watches a bout with their own unique perspective and prejudices, judges are trained to watch and judge a round based on the agreed upon scoring criteria (clean striking, effective grappling, cage control, effective aggression and defense). Because the judges are watching each round with (1) a better seat than the fans and (2) with a keener eye on what to look for, my presumption is that in the overwhelming majority of rounds, a trained judge can usually pick the winner of a round.

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