MMA Referee Yves Lavigne Says Dealing with Criticism "Part of the Job"
“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.”—Albert Einstein
After UFC 115, many fans were up in arms over the fact that Yves Lavigne had apparently “screwed up big time,” when he prematurely (and non-deliberately) stopped the fight between Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig.
Wiman had Danzig in a guillotine choke, and Lavigne called a stoppage to the fight in the first round, despite the fact that Danzig had not submitted, and was apparently still conscious after the two fighters were separated.
As a result, many fans were calling Lavigne the “worst” referee in all of Mixed Martial Arts (after Steve Mazzagatti, of course—not my personal opinion—just summarizing the general consensus across the internet).
Oh well, such is the life of a referee—and any referee will tell you that dealing with criticism is just a part of the job.
“Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes.”—Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy
Just to be clear on the differences—sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone, and empathy is when you can relate to a particular person because you have likely been through very similar experiences in your life.
How many of Lavigne’s critics can honestly say that they know first-hand what it is like to be in his position?
I’m gonna guess—not too many (including, yours truly).
It’s easy to criticize a referee (and sometimes lots of fun), particularly an MMA referee, because the majority of the fans are completely incapable of relating to them and the difficult balance of stress and responsibility that they so willingly accept.
For myself—the reason why I don’t generally sympathize with referees is because, as far as I’m concerned, they knew exactly what they were getting into when they first decided to become referees. If anything, I just wish that more of them would be willing to accept greater
accountability for their bad decisions and occasional poor judgment.
I find it difficult to empathize with referees because I have never been a referee—although the thought has certainly crossed my mind once or twice.
As thick as I would like to think that my own skin is, I’m still not entirely sure that it is thick enough to be an MMA referee. It’s hard enough being a Freelance MMA Sportswriter (it is a fact, that Brock Lesnar would easily destroy Shane Carwin and Fedor Emelianenko at the exact same time—bring it on, fight fans!).
I had to know for myself—does Yves Lavigne really have skin as thick as an alligator, or does he just have a special way of dealing with his critics that is better than most?
Perhaps as a writer, I could learn a thing or two from Mr. Lavigne about dealing with negativity.
Perhaps we all could.
To read, rate and comment on James Ryan's awesome interview of Yves Lavigne, please click the "READ RYAN'S INTERVIEW OF LAVIGNE HERE" link below!