Long time MMA referee Dan Miragliotta came under heavy fan criticism for what was perceived to be quick stand ups in the Belfort vs. Johnson co-main event. There were even rumblings from beneath a canopy of tinfoil hats that Miragliotta may have done so at the behest of Zuffa, as retribution for Johnson's failed weigh-in.
As Brazil does not regulate mixed martial arts, the regulatory duties there are coordinated by former Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and current Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the UFC, Marc Ratner. Dan Miragliotta, Leon Roberts, and Mario Yamasaki were among the officials Ratner chose for the event
While Miragliotta has not watched a replay, the contest is fresh in his mind, and with the crystal clarity required of a referee, he refutes the charges..
"If there's two guys on the ground that aren't doing anything or if they're in a takedown position and they're just very tired so they're leaning against each other and they're not going for a single-leg or they're not trying something different to change their position, I give them some time," Miragliotta today told MMAjunkie.com "I warn them, and then I'll separate them."
"(Anthony Johnson) established position and then just held his wrist and laid on top of him. He had that one real nice, heavy punch that kind of busted up Vitor's face in the very early beginning of the first round, and then after that his takedowns had just kind of stopped."
"Honestly, the way the fans were screaming and hollering for the fight, I don't think it would have mattered if it was up or down. They were just into the fight. I don't listen to the crowd. They don't bother me."
"The UFC never talks to us. You go out there, and Marc Ratner is the one that's responsible for us. We never talk to Dana or Zuffa or any of the other guys. I may have talked to Dana once or twice since I've been doing this. They don't bother us."
"Never, ever have you ever heard the UFC grab an official and say to them, 'Let's change the criteria,' or, 'Let's do something different because we need to keep the fans happy.'"
"Neither corner came up to me and said anything negative. I rode with Anthony Johnson's corner in the bus on the way to the airport, and he thanked me for giving his guy a chance to fight. He never said, 'I wish you would have let them stay on the ground a little longer,' or, 'I wish you would have stood them up faster.' "
"I don't care who wins the fights. I'm honored and privileged to be there. I'm not interested in who wins. I just enjoy doing what I do."
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