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Morning Report: Michael Bisping: Referees and judges need to be held accountable for their mistakes

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Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping riles up the crowd
Esther Lin

The main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night: Oklahoma City ended controversially when Kevin Lee locked in a rear-naked choke on Michael Chiesa and referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout despite Chiesa not tapping out nor losing consciousness. Chiesa immediately protested the decision and has since said he intends to appeal the loss and that Yamasaki should never be allowed to referee again.

While that last part might be a bridge too far, UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, himself no stranger to officiating controversies, agrees that Yamasaki made a mistake. On his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping opined that because referee decisions directly impact the lives of the fighters in drastic ways, officiating blunders should be treated the same way as fighter malfeasance.

“A guy with the experience of Yamasaki, when it’s a main event, I think he messed up. I think he messed up and he should have let the fight go a few seconds longer. And I’m only talking a few seconds. As fighters, we train for God knows how long for these fights and generally, the way payment is structured within the UFC is 50-50, 50 percent to show and 50 percent to win. That’s generally how it starts. So not only has he lost the fight, not only does he have another loss on his record, but he lost half his salary.

“I’ll tell you what I think needs to happen. Listen, I like Mario Yamasaki. He’s been a good referee over the years but when you make a mistake like that I feel that people need to be held accountable. If we make mistakes in the cage as fighters, we are held accountable. If we break the rules, if we flaunt the rules and the authority, then we are often given a fine. . . And if you fail to make weight, 20 percent to 25 percent is taken in some cases. My point is, officials need to be held accountable as well. So Mario Yamasaki should have to sit down with the commission - I’m not trying to get him into any s**t, I’m not trying to cost him his job, he’s a very good referee - but he has to explain his position on why he did that.”

Controversial referee decisions have been a cornerstone of MMA in 2017, stemming frequently from the new unified rules of MMA that, despite their name, are not in fact unified nor accepted by all commissions. Gegard Mousasi was awarded a win over Chris Weidman at UFC 210 despite the stoppage coming from knees that were at the time ruled illegal and later determined to be legal by video replay. Just one month later at UFC 211, Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez had their fight end in a no-contest after Alvarez landed an illegal knee to the head of Poirier.

But Bisping didn’t stop at the referees. One of the most commonly maligned aspects of MMA among fighters and fans alike is the inconsistency and sometimes incompetence of cageside judges. Bisping lambasts the sad reality that MMA judges are almost never held to any discernible standard and he called for them to likewise be held accountable for their failings for the same reasons referee’s should: because fighter’s lives and livelihoods are in their hands.

“Also, judges. Judges are the scourge of this sport and often you will find a fight happens and one guy clearly dominates and the judges score that fight 30-27, 30-27 but then the third judge will score it 30-27 for the other person. So I think in those circumstances, judges that clearly, clearly made a very controversial call, which went against the grain of the other judges, they should have to sit down in a room with some other judges or the commission or whoever it is - maybe the UFC - watch the fight with some other people, and at the end of that round, explain why he scored that round a 10-9 for the guy that he said won it. And if he can’t give a very good reason why it was a 10-9, then it’s very simple. Either he wasn’t paying attention and he made a guess, either he’s not capable of doing the job at hand, or he’s a dodgy judge.

“But they should have to do that and if they can’t make a good explanation for why they scored that fight that way then they should either be fired or face some sort of disciplinary action. This is serious business with fighting. We sacrifice all this time and this is people’s careers and 50 percent of their pay on the line and then for some f**kin’ a**hole judge to come in and give an absolutely ridiculous scoring, they need to be held accountable.”


Monster. 2x Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields says Cris Cyborg would be a “monster” if she focused only on boxing.

Probably. Scott Coker says UFC’s Reebok deal should be “against labor laws or something.”

Didn’t help. Bethe Correia doesn’t believe her taunting Holly Holm led to her KO loss.

$150K. UFC Fight Night OKC salaries are out with B.J. Penn and Tim Boetsch leading the way.


Free fight.

DC on Conor the promoter.

Another promo.

Mousasi Doc.

Some footage from coach Roddy BTS before UFC 205.



MMA Mad. Jeff Haddad joins to talk about Matt Bessette and other things.

UFC Unfiltered.Michael Johnson and Jimmie Rivera interviews.

Beatdown. UFC OKC, Bellator, and the legacies of Penn and Fedor.


I’m sure it’ll happen before long.

Fighters love Tonya and with good reason.

She’s only 22 with an exceptional striking pedigree. . .

Glad to have him back.

I respect his never say die attitude.

Diesel still staying in the game.

Put her against Claressa Shields.

She’s an atomweight.


Cris Cyborg (17-1, 1 NC) vs. Tonya Evinger (19-5, 1 NC); UFC 214, July 29.

Bibiano Fernandes (20-3) vs. Andrew Leone (8-2); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Timofey Nastyukhin (10-3) vs. Koji Ando (12-5-2); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Shannon Wiratchai (7-1) vs. Rob Lisita (14-9); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Joshua Pacio (9-1) vs. Hayato Suzuki (16-0-2); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Eric Kelly (12-3) vs. Kotetsu Boku (25-11-2); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Chen Lei (2-0) vs. Saiful Merican (5-3); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Herbert Burns (6-1) vs. Magomed Idrisov (7-1); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Rika Ishige (2-0) vs. Jomary Torres (1-0); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Leandro Ataides (9-3) vs. Michal Pasternak (12-2); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.

Marc Marcellinus (0-2) vs. Quang Loc Tran (0-0); ONE Championship, Aug. 5.


2006: Anderson Silva made his UFC debut, obliterating Chris Leben in 49 seconds at UFC Fight Night 5.


Are any of y’all, particularly the non-American crowd, going to be traveling to Vegas for Mayweather-McGregor. I’m certain we have an Irish contingent of readers and would be interested to hear if you’re flying over for the big dustup. If you are, hit me up on Twitter and let me know about it.

Anyway, that’s all for today folks. Take it easy and Conor bless.

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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