Marc Goddard compellingly responds to criticism
Refereeing is the most thankless role in mixed martial arts, and it's impossible - there is no way to perfectly balance safety and an athlete's livelihood, in a hurting game. Marc Goddard came under intense criticism for his officiating of Kamaru Usman's successful title challenge vs. Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. Goodard's repeated stand-ups, his bizarre explanation to Usman of what mixed martial arts is, and more. However, it's not true.
The most prominent criticism came from Jon Anik.
Yes! Wildly inconsistent. And Usman was working his ass off.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 3, 2019
Luke Thomas looked carefully at what happened, and came to a different conclusion than did Anik.
I still have some questions for Marc Goddard in terms of reffing philosophy, but I rewatched Usman-Woodley again and took copious notes on separations, warnings and standups.— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) March 7, 2019
My takeaway: Goddard's work has been unfairly maligned. His seps/standups were entirely justified.
Goodard defended himself, and Anik doubled down.
I always try to be respectful. We are just calling it like we see it, too. But there is an arrogance with which you deal with the fighters, commentators and many in this sport. And I find it offputting. One man’s take. And I’m quite sure you’ll give yours for everyone to hear.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 4, 2019
Anik later walked back the remarks.
@marcgoddard_uk I know we've addressed it privately but publicly wanted to apologize for the personal insult. I respect you as a man, father, and professional and it's not my place to add to the noise, especially in that manner. Sometimes my passion is misdirected.— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) March 4, 2019
Here's why, via Marc Goddard's Twitter, by the numbers.
1. It was a full 25-minute 5x5 fight. There was ONE single solitary stand up the whole entire fight. That came in the 4th round.
2. I don’t know where or how came the notion “multiple stand ups” (not from you it’s what I saw wrote).
3. There was a total of 3 separations the ENTIRE fight.
4. My use of the words “it’s a fight” have been totally misconstrued. I only spoke in answer to Kamaru who asked why?
5. My use of the words “it’s a fight” was NOT the correct wording to use at that point. It was the wrong choice! I should have used different wording, no question. I have nothing but respect for Kamaru and his entire performance.
6. My actions & words have been misconstrued & for that I can explain in full. Kamaru Usman fought an unbelievable fight & if my words “it’s a fight” caused him of all people offence on the back of such an amazing performance then I'm truly sorry. My words at that time were wrong.
7. I have received an unbelievable amount of messages, literally hundreds. Questions and disagreements I can ALWAYS deal with that goes with the job, but the vile abuse not so much. This happens to my wife & son too.
8. Hopefully, when I speak it can go some way to offering up an explanation as to why I do what I do, and when.
9. Commiserations to Tyrone and respect & to Kamaru.
In closing, I will continue to give my all to this sport. A referee makes decisions, not always popular, not always correct but please know I have devoted 20 years to MMA & ALL of its facets. I'm far from perfect, I’m just like everyone else. Thanks.
In sum, refereeing is impossibly hard, and are not above criticism. However, when pointed remarks occur in front of millions during a broadcast, or in front of thousands of hardcore fans on the social network, it would behoove the critic to be correct, and Anik wasn't.