Referee Marc Goddard ‘specifically requested not to’ officiate Pereira vs. Adesanya rematch at UFC 287

Referee Marc Goddard 'Specifically requested not To' officiate Pereira vs. Adesanya rematch at UFC 287

Marc Goddard wanted nothing to do with Israel Adesanya’s UFC rematch with Alex Pereira.

Goddard is considered by many to be one of the UFC’s most respected referees, often acting as the third man in the Octagon for some of the biggest fights in the promotion’s history. That includes his role in the UFC 281 encounter between former middleweight world champions Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.

On that night, ‘The Last Stylebender’ surrendered the 185-pound crown to his GLORY Kickboxing foe via a shocking fifth-round knockout. However, the stoppage was the subject of some criticism with many suggesting that Goddard stepped in too early and should have allowed Adesanya more time to recover.

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Marc Goddard refereeing Pereira vs. Adesanya

Adesanya himself was also critical of the stoppage, prompting Goddard to request that he not be involved in their rematch at UFC 287 five months later.

“Do you remember when Israel Adesanya fought Alex Pereira for the second time in Miami? I specifically requested not to do that fight [too],” Goddard said during an appearance on the Overdogs Podcast.

“Me and him are [fine], I’ve refereed him since, I’ve refereed his fight with Sean Strickland, but I actually removed myself because what I didn’t want to do was walk in the dressing room, I was thinking of the fighter then, this is his night, it’s all about him. I didn’t want to walk into that dressing room and him to have any form of negative connotations or something like that.”

“So, I just thought that the right thing to do and the fairest thing to do by him is just stay out of the fight and give it to another ref. There’s been a couple of incidences where there’s [been] certain fighters that I would rather not [officiate] for personal reasons” (h/t Bloody Elbow).

Marc Goddard will never referee a Leon Edwards fight

Goddard also revealed during the conversation that there is one specific fighter you will never see him in the Octagon with, though for a very different reason.

“Here’s a classic case, Leon Edwards — you’ve never seen me referee Leon Edwards in the UFC and you never will, why? Because I was Leon Edwards’ first MMA coach,” Goddard revealed.

“[That was] way, way back when he was an amateur but it’s a common-sense element for me, even though the link is so [dated], who knew then when Leon first walked in… But you’ve never saw me referee him and you never will because we just keep it out of the way.”

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Outside of the obvious reasons, Goddard also explained that he doesn’t want to find himself “in a predicament where I’m making a call that could go against him so it’s both ways.”

Marc Goddard