Reffing controversy at Bellator 78

source: The Underground Blog

Refereeing Mixed Martial Arts is extraordinarily challenging. Two fighters are trying to use everything developed in the entire history of unarmed combat to hurt each other, but if you intervene too soon, a person's livelihood is at stake, and the outcome of his or her fiercest passion.

To ref successfully, you have to be decisive, and you have to be right, with a fraction of a second available in which to make a decision.

Friday's Bellator 78 featured the semi-finals of the Welterweight tournament. Lyman Good and Russian Andrey Koreshkov both advanced to the finals with TKO wins. But both wins were problematic.


Good appeared to have the advantage in the fight when opponent Michail Tsarev turned to referee Greg Franklin and clearly indicated he felt he had been poked in the eye. Franklin stepped in with both hands, but with insufficient speed and firmness. Good sensed his opponent was hurt and did what a champion does - he went for the finish aggressively. Franklin then abandoned what had been a clear attempt to stop the bout, and watched as Good ended the fight.

Good apparently did not see Franklin's attempt to stop the fight, but Tsarev did. While Good appeared to be winning, that is not the way a fight should end.

More problematic still was Andrey Koreshkov vs. Marius Zaromskis.


Koreshkov dropped Zaromskis with a left hook, and then hovered over his opponent and threw another left hook.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.
And another.

As the 11th unanswered left hook landed, referee Jerry Poe tackled Koreshkov off, landing on the mat himself, leaving him unable to control Koreshkov and the Russian moved in and gave Mariusz a final look over.

If there is a single silver lining to what appears to be problematic officiating, it is that it took place in Ohio, under the supervision of Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato, who runs among the very best ACs worldwide. Profato will be reviewing the Zaromskis vs. Koreshkov stoppage.

The referee enjoys the best seat in the house, and can see things that are not captured from outside the cage. What can at first glance, or even 10th glance at an animated gif file, to be poor reffing can in fact be a stellar split second decision. Profato will determine which was the case at Bellator 78.

Gifs courtesy of Zombie Prophet  


tags: Bellator 78   Lyman Good (detail)  Michail Tsarev      Mariusz Zaromskis   Andrey Koreshkov   


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Recent Comments »

Allen Hood site profile image  

10/30/12 2:32 PM by Allen Hood

That bullshit

MdGeist site profile image  

10/30/12 2:23 PM by MdGeist

Exactly. Your basketball example is spot on.These are the kind of situations that make me believe that MMA needs to implement instant replay like they do in boxing to determine if a cut was caused by an unintentional headbutt.Having instant replay in MMA to determine if an eye-poke or low-blow was commited will give the ref. more confidence to step in to call a time-out to review the tape rather than making a split-second decision on the fly.

fishyfish site profile image  

10/30/12 2:16 PM by fishyfish

yes, and yes

UGCTT_Fillthy site profile image  

10/30/12 1:58 PM by UGCTT_Fillthy

The ref should signal 'Time' (physically and verbally) before he moves in to separate the fighters.   This is Day 1 stuff, folks.

MdGeist site profile image  

10/30/12 1:52 PM by MdGeist

The Good/Tsarev fight should be ruled a NC.Whether Good commited a foul or not, the ref. clearly puts both hands on the fighters and attempts to put himself between them to initiate a time-out, but he second guesses himself and backs off allowing them continue fighting. Tsarev assumed there would be time-out and drops his guard only to be overwhelmed. If the ref. takes an action like that he has to fully commit to it and pull the fighters apart.

OnlyTheStrongSurvive site profile image  

10/30/12 1:52 PM by OnlyTheStrongSurvive

The problem wasn't so much whether or not an eye poke occurred or not. It was that he stepped in to give a time out and then went "nevermind!" and let Good finish him off. He needed to either definitively say no, or make sure he is in control enough to give a timeout.It would be like blowing the whistle for a foul in basketball, then letting a player score an easy layup to win the game after the defense stopped. Whether or not the foul should have been called aside, the ref has to stop play when he blows the whistle.It's the same for the mma ref, if he steps in to give timeout he has to make it happen. He can't start and then stop. The refs need to get the confidence to control the cage.

Heel Hooker site profile image  

10/30/12 1:16 PM by Heel Hooker

It looked to me like Franklin was telling him I didn't see it keep fighting.

dus 10 site profile image  

10/30/12 1:01 PM by dus 10

Nah. A thumb knuckle joint maybe. .I see why its confusing because it did go wide, but the thumb never seperated from the fist. .Unless you count something other than a finger tip an eye poke. I don't.

Nexuscrawlers site profile image  

10/30/12 12:43 PM by Nexuscrawlers

i didnt think Zaromskis was really stopped THAT late. it was a little late, but Zaromskis is a tough dude, im glad he was given the opportunity, but Koreshkov wasnt having any of that, and has a great killer instinct. cant wait for Good vs Koreshkov!!!

TBidness site profile image  

10/30/12 12:40 PM by TBidness

I couldn't believe that stoppage on the second fight.