During The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale broadcast this past weekend, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan blasted the Nevada State Athletic Commission and its executive director Keith Kizer for their role in allowing inadequate judges to officiate bouts. Rogan’s criticism came after a widely questioned decision was called in the Nam Phan-Leonard Garcia bout, and the comedian/martial artist called for all but the best MMA judges to be relieved of their positions. Kizer came out in defense of the NSAC and the judges they employ in a statement made to MMAFA.tv.
“If Joe Rogan wants to get on the air and call people names, that’s his business,” Kizer said. “I’m not going waste my time responding to that.”
Kizer also took issue with a statement frequently made by UFC President Dana White, and others who represent the UFC, to the effect that the UFC has no control of who judges fights.
“They always say that ‘the UFC has nothing to do with judging.’ Well guess what, they’ve got a big fight coming up in Canada called Koscheck vs. Georges St. Pierre – the UFC and Marc Ratner are flying Tony Weeks up there as a judge. C’mon, Joe. How about some honesty? They’ve taken 90% of our officials with them overseas, as they should. That’s not a knock on Dana [White] and Marc [Ratner]; they know what they’re doing.”
Kizer admitted that he disagreed with the scoring of the Phan-Garcia bout, but refuted claims that the bout’s decision was an outright robbery. He asserted that judges make mistakes but that more often than not, they make the right calls.
“You treat it like a batting average,” Kizer said. “Say that you score the first 11 rounds of a boxing match right and you get the last round wrong. Sure, you should have gotten it 100% right, but you’ve got a 94% batting average and that’s not bad. But more often than not, when people complain about the judges, they’re just wrong. They are either wrong in the sense that the judges did in fact get it right, or they are wrong in the sense that it wasn’t a robbery and it could have gone either way.”
What do you think of Kizer’s assessment of the NSAC’s judging record? Was Rogan off-base in making his on-air criticism? Discuss in the comments section.