Bashing MMA officials has become a popular pastime for media and fans alike. And while I don’t wish to add to the avalanche of abuse these individuals are subjected to, one has to question the circumstances surrounding Dan Miragliotta’s decision to disqualify Alessio Sakara against Patrick Cote at UFC 154.
The first thing to note is that the fight-ending fusillade of blows landed by Sakara was clearly illegal. So egregious was the offence that the Italian would have been on firmer legal ground had he instead assaulted Cote with a steel chair.
That aside, there was clearly some confusion surrounding the decision during the post-fight rituals.
It has been reported that Miragliotta, having watched a replay of the stoppage on the big screen, approached the commission and was advised that he should disqualify Sakara. However, the commission’s advice can be called into question for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, despite Miragliotta’s claim to have warned Sakara twice for strikes to the back of the head, there was no evidence of this during the broadcast.
Giving the veteran official the benefit of the doubt: If he had warned the Italian, why did he call an end to the fight instead of allowing Cote time to recover? Miragliotta did not attempt to establish whether Cote could fight on.
Had he checked and been told that the Canadian could not continue, a disqualification would have indeed been the correct call. However, his decision to immediately call a halt to the contest—presumably to award Sakara a TKO victory—means that the bout should have been declared a no-contest.
Dan Miragliotta is one of the sport’s best referees, so he can be forgiven for this rare lapse in judgement. Indeed, one could argue that the commission is largely to blame for tonight’s debacle, given the questionable advice they chose to dole out.
Alessio Sakara should appeal this decision and attempt to have it changed to a no-contest. With his UFC future less than certain, the last thing the Italian needs is another loss added to his already spotty record.