Reffing is the most thankless task in the fight game. No one ever said they won because of the ref, but half the losers blame him. And when you are at your best as a ref, no one notices.
The balance between safety and allowing a fighter every opportunity to pursue their passion and livelihood is an impossible one, as the only way to be completely safe is to not fight. And who wants taht?
Following a number of shows marred by reffing controversies, it must be said that when the UFC needed to be at its best for the debut of FOX Sports 1, the referees were amazing.
Travis Browne vs. Alistair Overeem
Letting Travis Browne work his way out of the barrage Alistair Overeem uncorked was a nice piece of refereeing by Mario Yamasaki.
The decision proved correct, as Browne eventually regained solid footing and took out the tired Overeem, who'd clearly shot his bolt.
Michael Johnson vs. Joe Lauzon
While separating the fighters off a break, Johnson gave Lavigne's forearm a twist-and-shove, to which Lavigne immediately nipped in the bud, telling him not to do that or he'd lose a point. After the round was over, he followed Johnson to his stool and give him another earful.
Referees have enough to deal with, including a--hole journalists like myself and fans playing Monday morning quarterback, than to have to absorb professional slights like this.
Michael McDonald vs. Brad Pickett
MacDonald did an excellent job of keeping an eye on the battered Pickett, who was staggered several times, letting him fight out of dire situations. This was another kind of key contender bout where a quick stoppage could've definitely been the choice of a panicked referee, putting a cloud over the result. Instead, Pickett's right to be finished was clearly respected, and that's exactly what transpired.
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