Dana White on Mazzagatti: ‘That referee has no business being in this business’

Perhaps the most controversial referee in the history of the UFC has fallen under fire once again. This time from the president of the promotion where he does a good amount of his work.danawhite

Steve Mazzagatti got his first crack at being a referee in the octagon way back at UFC 43 and it has been a bumpy road scattered with questionable decisions ever since.

One of his more questionable calls of recent memory was dragged back into the limelight in a recent Maxim Magazine profile on Brock Lesnar and his upcoming rematch with Frank Mir for the UFC’s undisputed heavyweight championship at UFC 100.

The pair’s first meeting at UFC 81 ended in controversy after Lesnar was prohibited from mauling Mir upon Mazzagatti’s decision to stand the two men up to deduct a point from Lesnar for punches to the back of the head. Whether Lesnar was warned or not is unclear. What is clear is if Mazzagatti had warned Lesnar, he hadn’t been overly vocal about it prior to deducting the point. Mir being finished seemed imminent at the time of the stand-up. Lesnar was caught in a knee bar to force the tapout shortly after the separation.

“Frank knows deep down that he lost that fight,” Lesnar was quoted as saying to Maxim. “He got a Christmas present.”

UFC President Dana White also chimed in during the feature and made his feelings on Mazzagatti as a referee quite clear.

“That referee has no business being in this business,” said White.

18 COMMENTS
  • cocoonofhorror says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Weak-Sauce. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  • Lord Faust says:

    I’m shocked at all the backlash against Mazzagatti. I really feel for refs; it’s like fighting only no one notices unless you blow it. It definitely takes a strong person to subject themselves to that kind of scrutiny.

    I also think that Steve is by far a better ref than guys like Herb Dean (who either lets fighters get absolutely smashed into oblivion before ending the fight, or he calls the fight waaaay too soon) and Dan Margliotta who has already amassed a record of poor decisions in a short time. He’s given Kimbo an undeserved win; he poked Heath Herring in the eye right before he touched gloves with Lesnar; has made some very questionable calls in general, and missed a pretty blatant eye-poke from Cro Cop just a week ago.

    No ref is perfect, but I can’t see Steve Mazzagatti as being anywhere near the worst. Everyone makes mistakes. Personally, I’d rather see mistakes like Mazzagatti’s — that seem to be motivated by a concern for fighters’ safety — than some of the other mistakes made by the refs I mentioned previously.

    They really need Big John back, but I guess Dana still has a hate-on for him too.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 10

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Mirgliotta is worse than Mazagatti.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  • Bullylover says:

    Big John definately is the best ref in the business/history. Honestly the whole mir/lesnar thing is so old that the only reasone that They are bringing it up is to hype up the fight. thye only reason Dana is opening his mouth is to protect his precoius lesnar wanna be fedor.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  • Jak says:

    Am i missing half the story? the same quote that is in the title of the thread is said once at the end, is that all that is supposed to come up with the story?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • meatloaf says:

    Dan Miragliotta isn’t worse by a long shot.
    This is one of the times I agree with Dana White. Mazzagatti needs a career change.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  • meatloaf says:

    Oh and I forgot to mention Big John McCarthy doesn’t have a license in the state of Nevada anymore and I don’t think you’ll see him ref in the UFC for now.
    I know besides Strikeforce events he has refereed a MFC card in Canada and an Art of War show in China, but he’s not going to be referring in Nevada anytime soon if ever.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Lord Faust says:

    Why doesn’t he have a license in Nevada? Is that related to when he was working for The Fight Network and ref’ing — I recall there was some nonsense about a conflict of interest. (Aside: how does that make any sense when you have Tom Attencio running an MMA company *and* fighting for another organization?)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • PlagueAngel says:

    Why is everyone shocked at the backlash on Mazzagatti? Lots of fighters have expressed concern over his actions including recently Kenny Florian. Now we have Anthony Johnson(eye pokes), Al Turk(beatdown), lesnar(point deduction). I think all these including Dana White’s opinion indicate that something has to be done. I guess if Cecil Peoples still has a job(which is insane) judging, then Mazzagatti should feel safe.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  • madheartmma says:

    Big John McCarthy A+,MARIO YAM??S?KI A-, Herb Dean B+,YVES LAVI?G C++,Dan Miragliotta C-, Mazzagatti F+,

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • Mbreckles49 says:

    One thing needs to be addressed with reffing is holding onto the cage. There’s always warnings and never any point deductions. People take the verbal warning and break the rule to save their ass.

    Personally, you should be able to hold on to the cage. What’s the point of having a fence-like structure if you’re not allowed to touch it?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • TerribleT says:

    Everyone of the UFC referees have made questionable calls.Most of the time it’s when a fighter suffers a flash knockdown and one of UFC refs overreacts and stops the fight immediately which happens far to often IMO.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • meatloaf says:

    They’re not “UFC” referees they work for the State athletic commissions.

    If the UFC could hire and fire the referees Dana would have fired Mazzagatti after the first Mir/Lesnar fight.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • gatorbones12 says:

    It’s so easy to be a Monday morning QB but in all reality, there’s only 1 ref in the cage and they don’t have the convenience of 10 ringside camaras, slow motion and replays. Refs have 1 angle and one angle only, not 10 diferent angles and slowmo. It’s much easier when we see it on replay but these guys do it in real time and have one shot to get it right. While they ALL screw up once in a while, the guys that we see on a regular basis are, in most cases, the cream of the crop.
    Mazzigati’s worst moment was obviously the Mir/Lesnar fight, but overall he is a very good ref and in the thousands of matches he’s reffed, in and out of the UFC, he’s done an excellent job and is still improving. One example of this is that he used to stand guys up way too soon while they battled for dominant position, now he lets them battle longer to advance position prior to standing them up. Other refs still don’t understand this is an intregal part of the sport and if they don’t see a good attempt at causing great bodily harm-even if just temporary while trying to improve position to allow them to do damage- they stand the fighters up. While their reason is to increase action, it usually has the opposite affect as the bottom fighter will do nothing but squeeze and hug to get the stand up every time he is taken down. That is a very subjective aspect of the sport, but one that can change the outcome of a fight. Knowing when to stand fighters up and when to stop fights are 2 very important, yet subjective parts of reffering that refs should be judged on. It is not fair to pick a moment in one fight out of thousands that a ref misses an eye poke, a cage grab or a low blow. They can only be in one place at one time and it is simply not possible to view everything. I’ve seen even the “best ref in the history of the sport” (which I completely agree with), Big John, miss infractions on several occassions…it’s just not possible for a ref to be perfect.
    And no, I’m not a ref.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  • AK47 says:

    Why are people still whining about the Mir/Lesnar fight? What Brock did was illegal whether it looked like he was going to win the fight or not. The referee isn’t required to warn a fighter who is breaking the rules, and by all means should not if it has caused the fighter to gain an advantage. The fighters know the rules and shouldn’t expect to get a warning whenever they break them. I would say the more egregious faults on the part of referees in the last year have been the Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson stoppage or Herb Dean subtracting a point for the elbow to the “back” of the head on Nate Marquardt.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  • edub says:

    The state athletic commissions need to a better job of training referees and judges hands down. But it wont happen. There will always be mistakes while the athletic comissions we have in place now are still in power. They seem to turn a blind eye to all the mistakes and bad decisions.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • JJ Docker says:

    “It’s so easy to be a Monday morning QB but in all reality, there’s only 1 ref in the cage and they don’t have the convenience of 10 ringside camaras, slow motion and replays. Refs have 1 angle and one angle only, not 10 diferent angles and slowmo. It’s much easier when we see it on replay but these guys do it in real time and have one shot to get it right. While they ALL screw up once in a while, the guys that we see on a regular basis are, in most cases, the cream of the crop.”

    Agreed. There are mistakes from any kinds of officials in every sport in the world, it’s human nature. Although some MMA referee’s are worse than others, and all of them could improve, in general, I find the standard of refereeing in MMA at the very least acceptable and we should probably give them less stick for a poor mistake once every 20 fights and recognize their solid performances in the other 19.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • edub says:

    I agree to a point JJ.

    The referees were talking about have more like 4 or 5 unacceptable performances in side of 20.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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