The job of an MMA referee is one that can not be taken lightly. Both competitors’ safety and lives are effectively in the official’s hands.
Unfortunately, from time to time we come across an official who is just not fit for the purpose. When a referee is inept in the fight game, there can be real danger of serious injury, brain damage, or even worse for the fighters.
While fans accustomed only to the biggest promotions in MMA, UFC and Bellator would be familiar with the likes of ‘Big’ John McCarthy, Herb Dean and the likes at the top of the game, the standard of officiating they witness is second to none. However, as you scale down the ladder of leading MMA promotions across the globe, you will find the calibre of refereeing follows the same decline.
In saying this, there are sometimes incidents even at the peak of the sport that have spectators scratching their heads to what they’ve witnessed. Be it calling a halt to a fight too early, or allowing a fighter take more damage than is right with a late stoppage, the best referees in MMA, like in any other sport, make mistakes.
Take for example the controversial stoppage of the recent UFC Fight Night 112 headliner between Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa by Mario Yamasaki. Yamasaki, a top referee in the UFC for over a decade, was widely slammed for calling a premature end to the contest, having believed that Chiesa had fallen limp in Lee’s rear naked chokehold.
In saying this, at a recent event in the Super Fighter League, an Indian based promotion, there was an example of some of the worst refereeing standard possible which can only be deemed as unacceptable.
In a women’s flyweight bout between Asha Roka and Hanna Kampf, the latter’s cornerman, Dennis Hallman was forced to invade the cage to stop the fight due to the incompetence of the referee. Kampf was in a real spot of bother as she had been choked out cold by her oppponent via guillotine but the referee, Alan Hernandez, watched on without taking action as Roka kept the choke locked in.
Going by this display of seriously worrying inability to prevent a fighter from taking unnecessary punishment, we assume Hernandez will be waiting a while until he’s asked back to take charge of any fights.
There should never be a time when a competitor’s coach is forced to intervene to save their unconscious fighter in the cage.
Check out the shocking incident for yourself in the clip below: