Dan Miragliotta is the best ref in MMA. He possesses one key intangible. It's called decision making. He has an uncanny ability to step in at the right moment to stop a fight. It's never too early and it's rarely if ever too late. His timing is impeccable and should be recognized and rewarded.
To say a ref is the best in the business should mean that they rarely make mistakes when it comes to stopping a fight. You can't teach it. It's clearly a judgement call that even the so called best MMA refs have struggled with. Look at some recent fights in the UFC and the questionable stoppages in some of the biggest fights.
Being a referee in any sport is thankless. You want pressure? Make a call late in a game that's going to most likely influence the outcome of a game. When you're talking MMA, the pressure is tenfold. Some refs to me get caught up in the magnitude of the moment and that clouds their judgement on when to stop a fight or to let it go on. It's even more difficult a decision because MMA fighters are incredibly tough and can withstand more punishment than most other humans.
Calling a groin shot, fence grabbing, illegal strikes, eye pokes, deducting points, etc are all base skills that any referee can acquire. It's not so much a judgement call and that's why it's not a good basis for calling a referee the best in the business. Any level of competence can provide that quality of refereeing in a fight.
To be the best you need something special. I wouldn't have suggested Dan Miragliotta was the best in the MMA game a few years ago, but I have seen an incredible consistency to his decision making. It's like a performer who gets up for the big performance. Miragliotta knows when to stop a fight regardless of the stakes involved. He is cool as a cucumber in the cage. I can't recall the last time I saw him ref a fight where I thought he blew it and stopped it too quick or too late. His style is to give the fighters the benefit of the doubt and because of that, you know there is no easy way out of a match. You will need to be pounded out before he stops a fight and I bet if you ask the fighters, that's exactly how they want it.
Let's start seeing Dan Miragliotta in some main events for the UFC. He's earned it and he deserves it. Find me a ref with better judgement and then I will get off this crusade. Until then, I'm starting the movement to crown him the best referee in MMA. I want to hear those words come out of Dana White.