Steve Mazzagatti is making quite a name for himself, unfortunately it’s not the kind of name you want.
He stands up Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir during their first meeting saying that Lesnar is striking Mir to the back of the head. Lesnar insists that he never did, however Mazzagatti stands them up, Mir takes advantage of this and eventually catches Lesnar in a leg lock forcing him to tap. Would Lesnar have pounded out Mir in that fight? The world will never know… Lesnar has since requested that Mazzagatti never EVER referee his fights again.
During the Anthony Johnson / Kevin Burns fight, Johnson was poked in the eye by Burns. Mazzagatti ruled the fight a win for Burns via TKO instead of a no contest. Apparently the UFC was baffled by this as well and held the fight again after Johnson was healthy again! Johnson, who in most people’s opinion was winning the first fight, won the second fight via TKO.
Most recently, he oversaw the Cheick Kongo / Mostapha Al-Turk fight at UFC 92. Kongo drops Al-Turk with some big rights. By my count, Al-Turk takes a good ten to fifteen seconds of unnecessary punishment from Kongo as Mazzagatti just watches. Did something shiny and silver distract him? Exactly what was he doing?
How about when he oversaw the Forrest Griffin / Rashad Evans title fight in December? Griffin, clearly dazed and confused, ate about one dozen unnecessary fists.
But why just pick on Mazzagatti when we can move onto Yves Lavigne. He steps in between Matt Brown and Pete Sell at UFC 96 as if he is going to stop the fight and then lets them continue. Even after Sell is completely out on his feet it continues. Matt Brown has even said he felt bad for Pete Sell and knew he was out but Lavigne took his time eventually stopping the fight after an onslaught of unnecessary punishment.
At UFC 98 he is booed by the audience for stopping the undercard bout between Philippe Nover and Kyle Bradley. It was a close call, Nover did go limp for a split second but by the time Lavigne jumped in, he was alert and defending. Fast forward to later that night and he lets the Drew McFedries / Xavier Foupa-Pokam fight go a little longer than most people think he should have. Did the booing rattle him that much that he’s more worried about the audience’s reaction than trusting his own training and instincts?
Let’s not forget Dan Miragliotta stopping the Fabricio Werdum / Brandon Vera UFC 85 fight with seconds left in the round and a completely alert and unharmed Brandon Vera. How about Kimbo Slice’s opponent, James Thomspon, stating in an interview that Dan Miragliotta was under “intense pressure” to view matters favorably for Kimbo during that fight. What exactly does that mean??
Something has to give here. It must be completely frustrating for fighters to train so hard and have so much on the line, only to fall victim of a bad call. It also should ignite a fire under the UFC to try and influence some sort of fix. Trying to change the perception of this sport being brutal and the equivalent of “human cockfighting” must be an uphill battle when you have referees letting fighters take a lot of unnecessary fists.