We’ve all seen it before, a fighter, maybe even your own favorite fighter, taking a beating well past the point of proving who the victor of the fight was and all while the referee (just) stands there allowing the fight to continue.
“Late stoppages” have blighted the sport of MMA with some unbelievably bad calls over the years and some, that (even the) most novice of fans would have had enough brains to step-in and stop. Fights that come to mind quickly (for me) would be Carwin / Mir, Lesnar / Mir 2, Weidman / Munoz and most recently Burkman / Fitch and War Machine / Avena.
These were all fights that should have been stopped considerably earlier than they were.
In each instance the losing fighter took shots to the head that were totally unnecessary or as was the case with Jon Fitch, had been chocked unconscious, released from the hold and had the victorious Josh Burkman standing over his limp body with his hands raised, long before the referee even knew the match was finished. The Fitch case was so egregious that it caused UFC President Dana White to comment on it and it wasn’t even his promotion that had put on the fight. White’s comments were such that he mused as to how long it will be before a fighter gets seriously injured as a result of bad officiating and the fact that the commissions, particularly NSAC, are not being responsive or proactive in dealing with the problem.
So what is the problem?
As White sees it, the problem is the commissions and their licensing of officials who “shouldn’t even be watching MMA, let alone officiating.” As the UFC is under the sanction of the commissions and has no power of its own on such matters, the promotion is helpless in terms of addressing the problem itself and its only avenue of redress would be that of asking its fighters to refuse certain referees.
In terms of asking fighters to ban officials by request, White said “he would never do that”, yet if it’s the only solution one has to ask the question, why not? It would seem like the logical thing to do.
Personally, I’d like to see an official banned (by fighter request) after he or she had 3 late stoppages, blown calls or any combination of the two and I’d like to see the UFC develop and post its own fighting metrics, regarding referees and the UFC’s opinion of their performances. That metric would in turn act as a guideline for the fighters, in terms of whom they should and should not allow for the officiating their bouts.
Either way, something should be done, because and as White said, “Somebody is going to get seriously hurt.”