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NYSAC: UFC did not object to referee assignment prior to UFC 208 main event

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UFC 208 photos
Todd Anderson reads the standard rules to Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm before their UFC 208 main event fight.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC president Dana White took issue with referee Todd Anderson, whom he deemed inexperienced, being assigned to the UFC 208 main event Saturday night.

The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) said Monday that the UFC knew “well in advance” that Anderson would be officiating the women’s featherweight title fight between Germaine de Randamie and Holly Holm beforehand and did not take action against it.

“The New York State Athletic Commission maintains a roster of highly qualified referees for assignment to bouts held in New York State,” the NYSAC told MMA Fighting in a statement through spokesperson Laz Benitez. “The Commission, as a matter of policy, shares a full list of referees and assignments with promoters well in advance of each card. This included sharing with the UFC that Mr. Anderson would referee Saturday's main event. The UFC made no objection.

“The Commission strives for excellence, and will appropriately review any and all complaints lodged against any Commission licensee.”

There was controversy in the main event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center at the end of the second and third rounds. De Randamie appeared to strike Holm with punches following the bell in both rounds. Anderson seemed to be a bit late getting between the two women each time, which is important because the referee officially ends the round, not the bell.

Anderson did not warn de Randamie about a foul the first time, but did after the second occurrence. Anderson did not take a point away despite the two potential fouls.

“I feel like the ref from New York shouldn’t be reffing a main event fight,” White said on the FS1 post-fight show. “They don’t have enough experience. He should not have been in there. But again, we don’t make those decisions. The commission does. That was a bad decision by them, and if that guy takes a point for hitting after the bell, it’s a draw. The only possible way this night could be any sh*ttier.

“Everybody was blowing me up on the phone, ‘what’s wrong with this ref?’ and ‘what’s wrong with this ref?’” White added. “What’s wrong with this ref is he doesn’t have big fight experience like that. None of these guys do in this state yet, and they should’ve had one of the experienced MMA refs in there reffing that main event.”

De Randamie ended up winning the fight by unanimous decision to become the first UFC women’s featherweight champion.

Holm’s manager Lenny Fresquez told MMA Fighting that she could consider appealing the result of the fight.

“We’re definitely looking into our options,” Fresquez said. “We’re looking into the options we have with the commission. We don’t know the necessary process yet. ... It’s definitely an avenue we’ll be exploring.”