Image via blacksportsonline.com
The terms "referee" and "badass" are almost antonyms.
The two are never in the same sentence, unless it's a conversation about how awesome something was until the fun police showed up in their striped shirts and quashed all the goodness.
Today is not about that kind of ref. Today is about the refs who ran out of F's to give in '82. They might make you laugh, or they might scream "Whoomp there it is" and chokeslam you into a world of semiconscious regret.
So mind your manners, respect the game and protect your neck—these are 10 badass ref moments.
You probably won't find "the business" in any referee handbook, but that doesn't mean "the business" is not out there, being given without warning.
At any moment, you or a loved one could be "given the business," and when it happens, you can only pray that a man like Ron Cherry is on hand.
Cherry was officiating a 2007 game between Maryland and NC State when some extracurricular activity went down on the field and the ref was forced to ring up the offending party with a personal foul for "giving him the business."
Level of Badassity: Frank's Red Hot spray paint.
He's just an umpire with a dream to bring Tag Team back again, and his strikeout call is the best thing you'll hear today.
If I were the parents of this little league pitcher, I would've brought a boom box to the game and tried to Pavlov's Dog this awesome referee into calling more strikes.
We don't have the lab results back yet, but I'll bet you dollars to crullers this guy's strike zone loosens up a few inches when he knows someone's waiting to play "Whoomp There It Is" after every K.
Badassity Level: Drive-by pillow fight.
Calls travels? LIKE A BOSS. Kicked ball? LIKE A BOSS. His own headband? LIKE A BOSS.
Keith "Big Show" Saunders is the ref Joey Crawford dreams of being when he nuzzles his Chillow at night—an emphatic, highly respected official who keeps it 100 percent all the time.
While he mostly officiates AAU basketball, Saunders has worked charity games with NBA stars. Yes, this man and LeBron James have been on the same court during the same game. That alone should put a smile on your face.
Level of Badassity: A polar bear you can ride and legally park in handicap spaces.
You know what's worse than losing in the first round of an MMA fight? Getting cleaned up by the referee after it's all over.
After being summarily dispatched two minutes into the first round of a URCC match, Iranian fighter Razi Jabbari decided to pout. He refused to shake hands with his opponent and tried to walk away as the match results were announced.
Referee Joey Lepiten attempted to pacify the situation, but Jabbari allegedly cursed at him and flipped the bird in his face. Not stopping there, Jabbari shoved Lepiten and then sucker-punched him in the head.
A consummate B.A. with zero time for this, Lepiten clinched Jabbari and took him to the ground. And that's how you lose two fights in one match.
Level of Badassity: John Stamos.
Years before Don Cherry brought it back to life, NFL official Ben Dreith pioneered the "giving him the business" call.
He's a founder and forefather of great refereeing call phrases, and as far as I'm considered, that alone merits your unquestioning respect of his legacy.
Level of Badassity: A trained capuchin who makes omelets and keeps changing the name of your neighbor's Wifi network to "The Poop Regatta."
The hammer of Thor could not shatter the iron jaw of NBA referee Bill Kennedy, who took the full force of a Larry Sanders elbow to the face and walked it off within minutes.
Sanders had went up to win the tip-off and his falling elbow caught Kennedy square in the mouth. Instead of mewling on the ground and asking for medical attention like lesser, half-concussed men, the referee shook the hard blow off and officiated the rest of the game.
Level of Badassity: Ron Swanson headbutting a Pachycephalosaurus into a wood chipper, which launches the strips of meat directly into a hand-made smokehouse.
This is a Pachycephalosaurus.
Image via prehistoricmonsters.wikia.com
Oh, Curly wants to tangle? Give the ref a second. He needs to take his helmet off so this fight is even close to fair.
After getting blindsided out of nowhere, this Russian hockey referee calmly stood up, took off his gear and went Ape-town on his assailant, who did not see this was coming.
It was the hockey equivalent of an 18th century duel—a metaphorical glove slap, a composed gathering of the senses and then (gong smash) MORTAL KOMBAT.
Badassity Level: Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee nunchuck fight. In space.
Small-time boxing matches can get out of control fast.
These are not professional boxers, and it's probably not a stretch of the imagination to assume a number of them are fighting just because someone told them they could actually get paid to work out their father issues on a random stranger.
That being said, if you get out of line, someone is going to suplex you—as this Butterbean-looking gentleman found out. If you shove one ref, another is going to take you to the ground like a child.
Level of Badassity: Cow-tipping with Bigfoot.
Two hard shots to the eggs, and he didn't even crack a yolk.
It's just another day at the office, that is, until you catch a couple sliders in the Push Pop. This man deserves a some kind of medal, preferably one he can easily solder onto a steel cup.
Level of Badassity: Falcon lands on your window sill. It has a treasure map in one talon and a scroll that says "You da man!" in the other.
This is it. The most mind-jarringly badass referee moment of all time.
I don't know whose parents' basement this fight was staged in, but what I do know is that daddy was home, and he was wearing a striped shirt.
In what appears to be the dingiest/wussiest mixed martial fight in the history of creation, one combatant apparently became upset when a referee separated him from his opponent. The fighter then shoved the referee in the face, thus initiating a Super Saiyan transformation.
What follows is a textbook example of someone being thrown around "like a ragdoll." The referee grabbed the fighter by the neck and slammed him to the canvas like a sad scarecrow. Also, note the calm demeanor the official maintains throughout the entire incident. Even after stealing the man's soul, the referee is never out of control of this one. It's high art.
Level of Badassity: "Little Caesars pizzeria owner by day, vigilante crime fighter by night. This summer...Dolph Lundgren is...Hot 'N Ready."
Join me on Twitter for more sports/badassity/Dolph Lundgren references.