Mazzagatti: My bad call cost fighter a loss

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

“We have all made mistakes. And we’re going to make mistakes – we’re human.”
‘Big’ John McCarthy

Anthony Johnson and Kevin Burns fought at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19, 2008, with Burns being awarded a KO decision, after referee Dan Mazzagatti missed an eye poke and believed Johnson’s reaction was due to an uppercut.

“Nobody has given me an excuse,” said an incensed Johnson afterwards. “The only thing I’ve heard from fans and even the staff of UFC was that it’s bulls—.”

Johnson won a rematch, and Nevada Athletic Commission director Keith Kizer instituted instant replay, so the story has as happy an ending as a bad call can. And now the referee, Steve Mazzagatti, acknowleddged that Johnson lost the fight due to his mistake.

“It looked to me like he got hit with an uppercut,” said Mazzagatti rrecently on Inside MMA. “He went back, grabbed his face and hit the ground. Later on, we found out it was clear as day an eye poke. We didn’t have the instant replay at the time…so one of those losses on Anthony’s career was due to my bad call.”

“I had to stick by my decision. Once you make that call, the fight’s over, he rolls over and says, ‘I got poked in the eye,’ I already made the call. Now, I do have the ability to go back and say, ‘Wow, he did get poked in the eye.’ I’m turning this loss into a disqualification in Anthony’s favor.”