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Kenny Florian: “Dana White is 100-Percent Correct on (Referee Steve) Mazzagatti”

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Kenny Florian: “Dana White is 100-Percent Correct on (Referee Steve) Mazzagatti”
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Kenny Florian: “Dana White is 100-Percent Correct on (Referee Steve) Mazzagatti”

Following the UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson post-fight press conference on June 15, UFC president Dana White criticized referee Steve Mazzagatti for what took place the night before at the conclusion of the World Series of Fighting 3 main event between Josh Burkman and Jon Fitch.

Burkman stunned Fitch with punches and then applied a guillotine choke on the former UFC welterweight contender. Fitch went limp and unconscious.  Burkman rolled him over, released the choke, and stood over Fitch in celebration.  Mazzagatti was the referee.

White characterized Mazzagatti as “dangerous.”  He went so far as to call Mazzagatti an “incompetent fool.”  He also criticized the Nevada State Athletic Commission for continuing to assign Mazzagatti to referee fights.

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission will keep this guy around until he seriously hurts somebody,” said White.

Executive Director of the NSAC Keith Kizer defended Mazzagatti’s performance at WSOF 3 to MMAFighting.com, saying it wasn’t a good or a bad job.  He compared Fitch going out to a one-punch knockout where a fighter walks away after landing the finishing blow.

“I would praise the referee if he did a good job. But here, there's nothing to talk about the ref. It wasn't a good job or a bad job. He had no job,” said Kizer.

On Monday, former UFC lightweight and featherweight contender Kenny Florian took White’s side in the assessment of Mazzagatti as a referee.

Reality is @danawhite is 100% correct on Mazzagatti. Bad refereeing hurts fighters, fight orgs & can cause irreversible damage to a fighter.

— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 17, 2013

The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 finalist disclosed that during his eight-year career, if Mazzagatti was assigned to referee one of his fights that his camp would protest and request another referee.

Anyone on my team knew that if Mazzagatti was going to ref one of my fights, we were to protest immediately & request another ref. #Truth — Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 17, 2013

Florian's words carry much more weight than the promoter White or the commissioner Kizer. Florian provides a fighter's perspective.  And when fighters begin requesting certain referees not be assigned to their fights, it makes a profound statement.

“As a fighter you can train for almost anything that can happen in a cage EXCEPT FOR bad refereeing & bad judging,” continued Florian via Twitter.

Florian also criticized Kizer's defense of Mazzagatti, saying instead the referee should have been reprimanded.

Mazzagatti has been a ref for so long yet still doesn't know the sport & now Kizer is defending him. Unfortunate. He should be reprimanded. — Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 17, 2013

Florian did give an endorsement to two referees that he considers the best in the sport, “Big” John McCarthy and Herb Dean.

To be positive now, @JohnMcCarthyMMA & @HerbDeanMMA are two exemplary referees in the sport of #mma who consistently do an amazing job.

— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) June 17, 2013

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