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Morning Report: Joe Rogan says Mousasi-Weidman controversy is not referee Dan Miragliotta's fault

Fan Expo Joe Rogan - el Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Several days after UFC 210, the major talking point remains the fiasco that took place in the co-main event. For those of you unaware of the controversy, here’s a quick recap: Gegard Mousasi was fighting Chris Weidman in a match-up between two divisional higher ups with possible future title implications on the line. In the second round, Mousasi had Weidman in a front headlock position, and he landed two knees — one of which referee Dan Miragliotta ruled illegal, because Weidman had his arms extended to the canvas. Miragliotta assumed Mousasi had kneed a “downed opponent,” and stopped the contest to give Weidman time to recover but during this break.

That’s when things got weird. Ringside official John McCarthy informed Miragliotta that, upon consultation of instant replay (a tool which may or may not be available for use in New York state), Mousasi’s knees were both in fact legal. Miragliotta — who was still giving Weidman time to recover, even with the knowledge that the knees were within the rules — attempted to restart the bout, but was told by the ringside physicians that Weidman was unable to continue. He waved the bout over.

The end result: Mousasi walked away with a controversial TKO victory.

In the aftermath, there has been ample discussion about whether the knees were legal, whether the use of instant replay was permitted, and whether — once he had called the foul — Miragliotta was allowed to then change his opinion on the legality of the knees. And while a great deal of the blame has settled mostly on NYSAC’s shoulders, many also hold Miragliotta responsible for his role in the situation.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan isn’t one of them. On a recent edition of The Church of What’s Happening Now, Rogan said that Miragliotta made an understandable mistake and that he’s catching undue flak for what happened.

“Here’s two reasons why it’s hard for Miragliotta,” Rogan said. “First of all, he’s a giant. You have to understand, Dan Miragliotta is like, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds. He’s a huge man. He’s f**king huge. He towers over most of the fighters. So he’s above these guys, and if Mousasi is pinning down Weidman, so he’s got him in a headlock and he’s pulling him down and he’s kneeing him the face like he was, think of how tall Miragliotta is in the first place.

“Now think, he’s looking down at these guys kneeing each other in the head and he’s got to stay close by in case something happens. There’s no way he could see those hands from where he was standing. So he took an educated guess based on his many, many years of refereeing that both hands were down. And it was so close, you would have to be on the other side of the ring looking at the ground to know whether or not [the hands] were touching. If you’re above it the way Miragliotta was, how could he know? He really couldn’t know and it’s not his fault. He’s an excellent referee.”

Which begs the question: If Miragliotta, the man in charge of the bout and the one who called the foul illegal, isn’t to blame for this error, who should be? Rogan says the fault for the controversy should rest with the NYSAC and their inexperience in MMA regulation.

“The fault is that the athletic commission, under situations like this, doesn’t use an instant replay and they should because it’s the fair thing to do to make sure that the fight is fair.

“I think Weidman could have gone on. Had there been a question about whether or not it was illegal, they could look at the instant replay and then they make the call. ‘The strikes are legal, we’re gonna continue.’ And you either continue them from the exact same position or you have a protocol in place, like you have to separate them, go back to their corners, and re-engage, which is bad for Mousasi because Mousasi had him in a good position and was landing strikes.

“It wasn’t Dan’s decision to stop the fight. It was the commission’s decision, I’m pretty sure and I think it’s because they didn’t know what else to do. They didn’t have a thing to do in place. It’s hard. It takes a while to figure out how to correctly referee and judge and officiate in a state athletic commission that hasn’t had mixed martial arts before and all of a sudden they have it. . . And then the commission, unfortunately, though the referees that were in place were really high level, there’s a commission that’s really not used to doing this. It’s not their fault, they just don’t have the experience.”

New York state is still very new to the MMA scene, having held their first regulated event there in over a decade. UFC President Dana White has even maligned the state’s need to catch up saying, “it’s like we’re in 2001 again” when dealing with the NYSAC.

As for how it should have been handled, Rogan believes that the fight should have been restarted from the position that they were in when Miragliotta stopped it. However, that is clearly not an option anymore and so the entire affair is just a an unfortunate situation.

“It’s just unfortunate for Weidman, unfortunate for Mousasi, unfortunate for the whole division. . . The whole thing is unfortunate.”

Well, maybe not for Mousasi.


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2012: At Bellator 65, Eduardo Dantas submitted Zach Makovsky with an arm triangle choke to claim the Bellator bantamweight champion.

2013: Kelvin Gastelum won season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, taking a split decision from the heavily favored Uriah Hall at THe Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.


It’s everyone’s fault. Miragliotta is the ref and he needs to know the rules and, if Rogan is right about him guessing, he shouldn’t be making calls. The knees were clearly legal because fingertips aren’t the rules. Dan should know that. We don’t need to vilify him for it — mistakes happen but we shouldn’t absolve him of responsibility for brain farting at his job. Also, yeah the NYSAC is rough.

Anyway, myself the the MMA Twitter personality The Naked Gambler have started a podcast. The link is up above for our first test run. This was just a trial go round and we weren’t putting it up for general listening, but we figured maybe you hooligans might have some constructive criticism to offer. Obviously there’s a lot of room for improvement but we’re both excited about this project and we’ve got big plans for what it can be, so please give it a listen and send any feedback you have to either me or @NakedGambling on Twitter. Or if you’ve got something wordier than 140 characters, you can send it to Thanks in advance for any who give it a try.

That’s all for today everyone. Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.

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