NSAC: Who Polices The Police?

NSAC: Who Polices The Police?


At last weekend’s UFC 161 card and half-way through the post-fight presser, Dana White launched into a diatribe on Steve Mazzagatti and his 41 seconds of officiating during the Burkman / Fitch fight, for the WSOF.

In an animated verbal lambasting of Mazzagatti, one rife with 25 F-bombs and 31 expletives in total and taking 9+ minutes to expound, White laid out the case passionately and forcefully, that the NSAC licensed referee is an “incompetent fool… and shouldn’t even be watching MMA on television let alone reffing it”.

When asked about whether or not he has voiced his concerns to NSAC, White replied that the UFC had gone so far as to send them DVDs’ of “Steve Mazzagatti’s greatest moments”, however, the response from them has been “they don’t give a ****.”

The UFC president went so far as to say that the attitude over at Nevada State Athletic Commission is such, that White expects them to punish the promotion for his negative remarks regarding the referee and NSAC itself and to do so, by giving the 185 title bout and top-of-the-card event officiating duties at UFC 162 to Mazzagatti. Dana fully expects it as payback.

Ariel Helwani then chimed-in with an interesting question regarding NSAC retribution, asking “is that not unfathomable, the fact that no one polices, in our sport, the police officers…you can even say it’s corrupt at this point”

To which White replied “It’s not corrupt…it’s complete and total ego”.

In terms of what can be done about Mazzagatti or NSAC, Dana said that where the promotion cannot bar him from officiating events the fighters can request a different referee, should Mazzagatti be assigned to their bout. Regarding NSAC, White stated that he would bring (civil) legal action against the commission in the event of a serious injury to a fighter, during a bout called by the “toolbox”. 

All-in-all, it seems that the UFC president believes that NSAC is not an un-biased, simply doing their jobs, kind of commission and in actuality, might be more of a dubious, self-interested bunch and one with an agenda other than the one they were created for.

On this issue I’m with Ariel Helwani, who does police the police?

I also agree with Dana that they’re not corrupt, but are NSAC or any other commission doing their best for a sport they might not understand or truly appreciate? Maybe even a better question is why are they trusted or needed to govern a sport and in particular a promotion, that has no record of corruption or misbehaviour? Simply put, why can’t the UFC govern itself, set its own rules and policies and pick its own officials (referees and judges)?

For my money, it’s a bureaucracy which has been hefted upon the sport and due to no fault of the sport itself. I’m for regulation when it works, is practical, responsive and efficient. However and regarding the officials they license, NSAC seems to be more of a hindrance to the sport then an asset and they certainly don’t seem to be listening to the sport’s biggest promotion on how to improve fighter safety in the ring by culling out bad referees; Steve Mazzagatti being the first that should go.

What do you think? Is NSAC failing the UFC on the issue of referee competence?

Do you think the sport even needs commission oversight?

*Relevant portion of the interview begins at (roughly) the 13 minute mark.

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/dropkickmurphy dropkickmurphy

    If Kim Winslow and Kevin Mulholland can ref, I think Mazzagatti is more than capable.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/N.C. N.C.

      Haven't seen Winslow screw up as bad as Mazz. What fights have she screwed up majorly on?

      Is Kevin the one who called to end the fight because of a eye poke? Then he ***** too.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/kickassfast kickassfast

    it pisses me off that big john cant ref in nevada because of something he said but steve m. can ref with such a crappy track record

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Entity Entity

      Big John earned his respect, but when I first started seeing Big John, I thought "This guy thinks he's more badazz than the fighters."
      John is an exellent ref. as well.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Makes no sense that he can't. He's probably the best ref out in the business.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/RoryKernaghan Rory Kernaghan

        what did i miss? how come john cant ref in LV?

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/N.C. N.C.

          Big John, lost it waaaaaay back when a lot of fighters had issues with zuffa's policies. He also worked for affliction. Which at the time was a declaration of war to Dana.

          Dana in a nutshell, called in some favors. Magically when Big John applied for a renewal. He's constantly gets denied.

          ****… Damn Dana, Big John is a good reason why UFC can't manage the refs either lol

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/RoryKernaghan Rory Kernaghan

            i always thought that john just went elsewhere by choice. that 5ucks big time

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/N.C. N.C.

            Boy can Dana Hold a grudge. It's been the better part of a decade now. Get over it. If you notice the tv commentary, they almost never talk about him like they should. They never refer to him as a legend or any of that stuff. They've basically disowned him.

            My personal opinion, Herb is good. But Big John is still the best in my opinion. Seniority and experience says he should be the guy in consideration for all major title fights.

            Fighters should be able to agree who they want as a ref in title fights.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/kickassfast kickassfast

            i heard john say he made a criticizing remark about keith kaiser and since then the nsac never approved him to ref in nevada. aside from that i thought dana white said he had no problem with john. but i could be wrong

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

            Agree with all of that, NC.

            Regarding fighters and refs, apparently a fighter can ask for an officiator to recuse himself, in favor of another official.

            De facto, the fighters themselves could, by request and default, ban Mazzagatti or any other referee, from the UFC; simply by lack of consent.

            I don't know why they just don't do it.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/N.C. N.C.

            Being a guy who competed in contact sports since he was 10. Your mindset is different. It's hard to explain.

            A bad ref is the other fighters problem. Your going to knock him out and he better hope he changes refs.

            That is generally the mind frame of fighters going in. You have to be 100% convinced your going to win. The moment you doubt if you can crush the other guy you start mentally breaking before a fight. Fighting is 99% mental and 1% physical.

            If i was to pull a ref because I think he's unsafe at stopping fights. On some deep down level, I'm accepting the possibility of losing.

            But regardless, I'm coaching now. if I was AKA's coaching team. i'd across the board ask mazz to not ref any of my AKA fighters. If that happens I see mazz getting pushed out of the majors. Because that could start a chain reaction.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Entity Entity

    Herb Dean is the man

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Herb Dean is great, but I thought he should have stopped the Davis / Sexton fight in the second.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Entity Entity

        unfortunately, I didnt get to see that one. I cant wait until MMA is so mainstream, that I dont have to go poor trying to see it.