Refereeing in MMA is impossible to do perfectly. A ref has to balance a fighter's livelihood with a fighter's health, in a sport where the athletes are trying to hurt each other. And sometimes they have to do it during moments when to see everything that happens, you have to be in multiple spots at once.
UFC president Dana White was critical to a degree of multiple moments at UFC 246.
White on Jason Herzog reffing Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington.
"He let them clinch for four minutes for three f***ing rounds and they fought for a minute," said White. "That was a problem, too. That drove me crazy. If you are not doing damage or advancing position, you split the fighters up and make them actually fight. And I like this guy. I don't want to bum this guy out or whatever, but he's running around the Octagon. Like, what f***ing fight is he watching? He's moving around like he's trying to stay out of the way like there's a f***ing war going on or something. These guys are leaning up against the fence for four minutes."
"I literally almost got up and walked out of that fight. I was so frustrated. Anyways, I've s*** on enough referees in my day. That guy seems like a nice guy. I'm too old to f***ing be doing this s*** any more and tearing these guys apart. He's a nice guy and I don't mean to whatever. You saw the fight. You know what I'm talking about."
White on referee Mark Smith's stoppage of Drew Dober vs. Nasrat Haqparast.
"The Dober fight, he got hit with like 12 unanswered shots," White said. "The reffing wasn't 100 percent tonight. That's a fact."
White on Herb Dean's stoppage of Conor McGregor vs. Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone.
"I don't know if the Cerrone stoppage was horrible, though," said White. "I don't know if I'd say that. At the end of the day, the reality is we're not in there. We're not the refs. I wish it could be perfect, but it's never going to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect in football, basketball, or any other sport. It's never going to be perfect here.
"I think it's probably one of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Everybody is an expert. Everybody is a critic. Everybody wants to rip you apart after they don't like the way you did it. As long as nobody gets hurt. Never once did I look at the fight and go, 'They should have stopped that sooner,' like I did for the Dober fight."