Being a referee isn't easy.
At best, you're one wonky call away from being savaged by awful MMA Twitter. At worst, you've perhaps irreparably altered the course of an athlete's career.
Whether the calls come too quick or too slow, you're gonna hear about it.
Last weekend in Sao Paulo, Brazil, veteran referee Mario Yamasaki took flak for his first-round stoppage in the main event between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort. Belfort scored a quick headkick knockdown of Henderson and was awarded a performance bonus for his TKO win. Henderson protested the call in the Octagon but didn't blame Yamasaki during his post-fight interview.
Speaking with UFC announcer Bruce Buffer, referee Herb Dean sounded like he attributed the controversial stoppage to Yamasaki being a step or two out of position.
"It's hard to say whether I would have handled it differently," said Dean. "I think the biggest difference was how close Mario was [to stopping it] at that point. Dan had already gone down. He had taken some shots and Mario was almost at the point where he was touching him. I think if Mario was one step back, which he could have easily been, or a step in a different direction, he could have gotten that second to realize Dan was there and was still in the game."
"I can't say it would have been different or that it wouldn't have been different," Dean said of the main event. "I think on a different day Mario might have made a different decision. I think Mario ... I think he was making a different decision as he was touching him. He realized Dan was kicking him off. He did see [Henderson] go. He saw his head go limp.
"He saw another punch coming. That's the big thing. You see something that they need to protect themselves from. That punch missed and gave Dan a second more to get back into the game. I think that was what was crucial."
Admitting that no referee ever wants lingering questions about one of their calls, Dean explains the unenviable balancing act refs walk in the cage.
"This is a rough sport, OK? One thing we know is that on any given night of competition someone's going to receive an injury like most people don't receive in their life. At the end of a punch someone's probably going to get knocked unconscious. Someone's going to have some joints disfigured. It's a rough sport.
"At the other hand of it we're balancing all their hopes and dreams that they've sacrificed for against that. That's how we make our decisions. When we believe it's no longer competitive, when the guy has nothing left to give it's time for us to step in and do our job. It's hard to figure those things out because you can't feel what someone's feeling."
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I guess @CroCopOfficial didn't believe he had a chance without cheating...— Anthony Hamilton (@AHamilton_MMA) November 12, 2015
I knew Cro Cop bombed his random drug test. USADA 1 Cheaters 0 . get that a** over here boi— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) November 12, 2015
Regarding his IV. Cowboy gonna Cowboy.
They are not allowing shit. I was just talking shit. No special treatment here! https://t.co/wX9JxSFkk7— Cowboy Cerrone (@Cowboycerrone) November 11, 2015
Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) November 12, 2015
@BigfootSilva follow me little man don't make me fight u!!— Ryan Benoit (@BabyfaceBenoit) November 12, 2015
You make me scary. big hug https://t.co/VK6ZxHjABC— Antonio Pezao Silva (@BigfootSilva) November 12, 2015
In the gym.
. @TimKennedyMMA thank you for your service and sacrifice man. You and your brothers in arms deserve more than just one day.— Michael McDonald (@MaydayMcDonald) November 11, 2015
@TWooodley I meant do disrespect my friend. And when you get that title shot.. Do work!!!— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) November 11, 2015
@WonderboyMMA I know brother. UR suppose 2 want 2 fight fights that push you ahead. That's my whole career. Funny being on the other end— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) November 11, 2015
GSP is good for five.
@JohnMcCarthyMMA Hi John, how many people could an MMA pro beat in a street fight at a single time? I think GSP could take out 5 or 6 guys— Andy in Miami (@AMG_305) November 11, 2015
Announced yesterday (Nov. 11 2015)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Kikuchiyo.
Being a relatively new MMA fan (think the 1st fight I watched live on TV was Machida-Davis), the first thing that really stuck out about an MMA show was the walk-outs. I think it's (sometimes) not just a great vehicle to hype up the crowd and viewers, but also an effective way to communicate some aspect of what the fighter represents. It can definitely add some color to the mythology of the greats eg.
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