August 05, 2008
The heat is on MMA ref Steve Mazzagatti (pictured w/stache) in this week leading up to UFC 87. The formerly mustacheiod Mazzagatti's competence has been called into question more than few times by media, fans and most importantly Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar spoke with ProMMARadio's Larry Pepe and basically called Mazzagatti a clown for his actions early on in the loss to Frank Mir. Lesnar grazed the back of Mir's head with just one punch. Instead of issuing a verbal warning, Mazzagatti stopped the fight with only 25 seconds elapsed and deducted a point from Lesnar.
"It's just an consistency in the reffing by that particular referee. Every fight that I ever watch him ref there's a lot of inconsistency. I'm not naming any names."
CLICK BELOW TO HEAR PART OF THE LESNAR INTERVIEW (w/Pepe on ProMMARadio):
Listen to the entire Lesnar conversation here. Brock questions the legitimacy of Kimbo Slice, talks about his training and say that his opponent at UFC 87 Heath Herring is a poor wrestler. There's also much discussion of Jake O'Brien's wrestling domination of Herring.
It's not easy being an MMA official. You've got to protect the fighters' safety but also let fights reach their legitimate conclusion. The real problem with Mazzagatti's Lesnar point deduction was the fact that he strayed from his normal reffing philosophy. He's generally known as a guy who lets action go. New Jersey-based Dan Mirgaliotta has his critics, but more often that not when something goofy happens, Mazzagatti is at the center of the storm. A quick search of the internet indicates that Mazzagatti may be the most highly criticized official in MMA.
1. Jamie Varner v. Rob McCullough @ WEC 32
Varner loses his mouthpiece and actually stops fighting then signals his own timeout. Varner, who looked wobbly, is actually granted a stoppage by Mazzagatti.
2. Kevin Burns v. Anthony Johnson @ UFN 14
Burns clearly poked Johnson in the right eye. Johnson went down in a heap. Mazzagatti stopped the fight awarding a TKO victory to Burns.
3. Gray Maynard v. Rob Emerson @ TUF 5 Finale
Maynard slammed Emerson but in the process knocked himself out. The win is initially given to Maynard before ringside officials cleared things up for Mazzagatti and the fight was ruled a no-contest.
4. Jamie Varner v. Marcus Hicks @ WEC 35
This is the type of fight where Mazzagatti scares some people. Hicks was knocked down and out with 3:12 left in the first round. He then took 19 additional punches and three knees to the face before the fight is stopped 20 seconds later.
5. Mike Whitehead v. Vernon White at IFL - Las Vegas
Whitehead had White's back and rained down punches. He then told Mazzagatti that White had tapped. Mazzagatti clearly didn't see it but honored Whitehead's 'official' call and stopped it. Coach Ken Shamrock is seen on the ring apron screaming at Mazzagatti, "that was a horrible f**kin call!"
6. Shayna Baszler v. Cristiane Santos @ Elite XC
Santos knocked down Baszler with 1:31 left in the first then prematurely celebrated her victory by jumping on the top of the cage. Santos carried on for 13 seconds while Mazzagatti stood in the middle of the ring and screamed "hey" in Santos' direction to keep fighting. The Portuguese-speaking Santos had no idea what Mazzagatti was saying. Instead of a disqualification, Santos was allowed to come back down from the cage and the action was restarted around 1:08. Santos went on to finish Baszler.
7. Babalu v. David Heath @ UFC 74
The pre-fight included a war of words between the fighters. Babalu got in position for an anaconda choke finish. Mazzagatti stopped he fight and Heath held onto the choke for an extra three seconds. Some think Mazzagatti didn't do all he could to force Babalu to stop.
8. Thiago Alves v. Karo Parisyan @ UFN 13
Alves stopped Parisyan with one big knee and then two punches on his arm. Parisyan was beside himself and actually pushed UFC fight booker Joe Silva several times in the cage as he protested the Mazzagatti stoppage.
Mazzagatti seems like a nice guy and showed a good sense of humor during this 2007 interview with MMAMania.com. Although this guy is a little crazy with his top 45 reasons he hates Mazzagatti. The ref does need to tighten things up or he's going to become an unfair target for many fight fans.
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