Power Ranking the Top 10 Referees in MMA

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

Power Ranking the Top 10 Referees in MMA

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    The cage is always filled with three men, the third man being the referee. Believe it or not, the third man in the cage is just as important, if not more, than the combatants.

    Many times, refs take a lot of heat for not stopping a fight quickly enough or stopping a fight too soon. These men have a split second to make a decision, making their jobs incredibly difficult.

    Here are the 10 best referees in MMA today.

10. Steve Mazzagatti

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    Give him all the crap you want, but the fact of the matter is Steve Mazzagatti would not get all these high-profile fights if he wasn't at least halfway decent at what he does.

    Yes, I will admit that he has made some questionable calls in the past, but for the volume of fights he has called, he is still a respectable official.

    Many people rag on him for being "the worst," but I can confidently say Dan Miragliotta is easily worse than Mazzagatti. I also say that because I believe Mazzagatti is pretty good.

9. Greg Franklin

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    If you don't know know who Greg Franklin is or how good of an official he is, check out Invicta FC from last weekend. Franklin officiated most of the bouts and did a very good job.

    Franklin is the brother of Rich Franklin, former UFC middleweight champion. Greg was an unsuccessful MMA fighter, but he's a skilled ref.

    A lot of the fights he officiates that I have seen are in Bellator. Every time I have seen him ref, he has done a solid job.

8. Mike Beltran

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    The man with the craziest facial hair in the MMA world is actually a pretty good referee.

    Mike Beltran has been seen in the Strikeforce hexagon on numerous occasions and in California regional cages. Every time he has presided over fighters, he has done a commendable job. 

    There's also the possibility I am biased because his facial hair is so manly and awesome.

7. Kevin Mulhall

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    Kevin Mulhall may look like he has never been in a fight in his life, but at least the man can officiate one.

    Mulhall may be one of the most underrated, under-utilized refs in MMA today. He is a fantastic decision-maker with the reaction time to make sure fights are stopped when they should be.

    Mulhall is definitely a guy you want watching over you in the cage.

6. Yves Lavigne

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    Like most officials, Yves Lavigne has had his fair share of questionable calls, but Lavigne is easily one of the best, most respected referees in MMA.

    Lavigne works a lot of Canadian events, though he presides over American events as well. He has officiated over, and done a great job, in some high-profile fights like Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz.

    Just look at this video to see his athleticism and Mike Goldberg's reaction.

5. Marc Goddard

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    The United Kingdom's own Marc Goddard is a very skilled official who does not receive a lot of press.

    Goddard presided over a number of fights on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, as well as many fights in the UK and America.

    He does a great job of ensuring fighter safety and adhering to the rules.

4. Mario Yamasaki

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    Some people can't let Mario Yamasaki's questionable disqualification of Erick Silva at UFC 142 go, but they need to get over it, because Yamasaki is one of the best refs in MMA.

    Yamasaki is one of the most used refs in the sport for good reason. He is always in the correct position and makes many righteous calls.

    If you didn't know, he is also a very good grappler as well.

3. John McCarthy

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    The original referee of MMA to most fans, "Big" John McCarthy is still one of the best and most respected refs in the business today.

    He is incredibly educated on the sport and makes all the right decisions. He ensures that fighters stay busy and don't take too much damage when in trouble.

    Cheers to the iron man of the officiating world.

2. Josh Rosenthal

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    Josh Rosenthal has been coming on the last few years as one of the most reliable refs in the business, consistently making righteous and correct calls.

    There are few that can match Rosenthal's skill in the cage in terms of decision-making. He rarely makes mistakes and consistently makes timely calls.

    There is only one man better than Rosenthal.

1. Herb Dean

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    Yes, folks, there is not much of a surprise here. Herb Dean is the best ref in the game today.

    Dean has consistently been the best since he put on an official's shirt and latex gloves. He has made some of the best calls in MMA and saved fighters from serious damage.

    Don't believe me? Check out his arm-saving job when Frank Mir fought Tim Sylvia. If not for Dean's great reaction, Sylvia's career might have ended there.


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