MMA referee Steve Mazzagatti has taken his share of lumps over the years, but 2008 was particularly difficult for the Firefighter turned referee and lately it appears that those within the UFC are growing increasingly tired of his missteps in the cage.
It all started early last year when Mazzagatti made a controversial stand up in the Brock Lesnar – Frank Mir fight that Lesnar claims cost him the fight. Lesnar has since requested that Mazzagatti not referee his matches.
Later that year, Mazzagatti was again at the center of a controversial call, when Anthony Johnson was poked in the eye by Kevin Burns. Mazzagatti ruled the fight a win TKO for Burns instead of a no contest and the UFC held the fight again in an apparent protest. Johnson, who looked to be winning the first fight, took the second with an emphatic TKO.
But Mazzagatti’s latest indiscretion at UFC 92 has UFC President Dana White and MMA top lightweight contender and ESPN commentator Kenny Florian publicly up in arms.
Mazzagatti oversaw Mostapha Al-Turk vs. Cheick Kongo and allowed Al-Turk to take big punishment from Kongo well after it was clear that he was taking unnecessary damage and was incapable of properly defending himself.
White was recently quoted by Yahoo columnist Dave Meltzer as stating the following:
“He’s a nice guy, but he’s not a referee.”
Florian added the following on this weeks edition of ESPN’s MMA Live.
“I think someone should have gotten him glasses for Christmas,” Florian said. “I’ll be honest, he really has been late with a lot of his calls, and it has been a consistent thing with him.”