“I’m involved with the regulatory aspect with the athletic control board,” Nick Lembo, Counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB), explained to MMADieHards.com. “I’m involved with selecting judges, referees and officials and training those officials.”
“(Ricardo Almeida) has been a fixture as a fighter, and as a trainer, and school owner from right here in Jersey. We thought with that background he would be a valuable asset to have as an official for the state athletic board.”
“I do have some concerns about people making comments on various websites about conflicts. Obviously Ricardo wouldn’t be judging his students’ fights or Frankie Edgar; he’s not going to be working those fights.”
"(Nick Lembo) asked me if I wanted to get involved in judging or refereeing. I said, ‘Oh Nick, I don’t know about refereeing, but I can definitely help out with judging.’ I just want to give back to the sport a little bit.”
“I’ve known Nick for years. They’re a very proactive athletic commission, they helped draft the first unified mixed martial arts rules, they have a phenomenal amateur program, and they consulted a lot of fighters when they went to come up with amateur rules. I believe the New Jersey State Athletic commission is the reason why we have such a strong MMA community in Jersey.”
“Now I can be involved with pushing the sport in the right direction, so I’ll start as a judge and see where it goes from there.”
“I don’t really want to be a referee. As far as getting in the Octagon, I really don’t see that, but I’m not ruling that out.
“Man, refereeing is a really tough job. You do a real good job and no one talks about it, but they are always going to talk about what you mess up. Referees we have here in New Jersey like, Kevin Mulhall and ‘Big’ Dan (Miragliotta) are some of the best referees in the business and that’s because of how good the athletic commission is and the amount of fights we have here. Some of the other commissions only get to ref when the UFC is in town and that’s why you get these bad calls and bad decisions and bad stand-ups.”
“Of course, I’m not going to judge guys on my team, that’s a conflict of interest.”
“If I cared what people had to say about me, I wouldn’t have became a fighter in the first place. Whenever you are in the spotlight people judge you, but I don’t pay attention to it. They can say what that want about me judging or the refs, but you just have to let it go."
“If there were more former fighters giving educational classes that showed how we need to judge this and how we need to judge that, it’ll be better. If it was a clean combination or a clean takedown, it scores higher, whereas now when the crowd screams it influences the judges. I think refs and judges need specific things they need to look at and the more they understand it. Everyone understands what is happening, but I think for someone who has actually been in there and understands the technical aspect is going to do a better job."
“I’m not saying everyone who judges or refs has to be a fighter, but they should have to at least be practitioners.”
“I think everyone should look at contributing to the future of the sport. The sport only grows when people with passion take the leadership positions and prove it. If people would treat MMA like their house and cleaned up, then there wouldn’t be as much trash in the house."
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