Much is being made about two of the stoppages that took place during UFC Fight Night 13 on Spike TV last night and I just needed to give my two cents.
I really believe we need to start giving the officials in MMA a lot more slack. Is there a tougher sport to officiate in the world than MMA? If you’re an umpire and you blow a strike call, a hitter gets sent back to the bench. In MMA, if you make a bad decision then a guy can get sent to the hospital.
This sport would not be where it is today if there weren’t compassionate, competent referees that existed to see to it that MMA evolved from human cockfighting into a legitimate sport. If we had a bunch of irresponsible, bloody thirsty cowboys in there calling the fights then the list of states where MMA is currently prohibited would be much higher.
It’s real easy from our perspective to sit back and watch a guy get drilled and say, “Man, the referee should have left that go on a little longer” but it’s another thing if you were in the cage with two fighters and you saw one guy in trouble. What would you do? Stand there and enjoy it? Or would you feel the need to step in and protect a guy from suffering permanent injury?
In the case of Houston Alexander, I think the right call was made. If Houston says he was never out, I believe him. But whether he was conscious or not is moot. James Irvin had him in mount and had already dropped two bombs on him. Alexander was not defending himself and wasn’t going to get out of that position. Irvin had him in check mate. Kudos for the stoppage.
In regard to Karo Parisyan, I think the matter of the stoppage there is a little more gray. But Steve Mazzagatti’s track record speaks for itself. If he felt the early stoppage was the right call to make, I’m inclined to accept his judgment.
Referees in MMA don’t have the benefit of replay and they don’t have the luxury of thinking of whether to make a call. They have to act quickly and decisively. The refs aren’t there to act in the best interest of the promoter or the fan; they are there to act on behalf of the fighter. Unless it’s an egregious error, I’m not going to condemn an official for trying to protect a fighter.