(Props: @GrabakaHitman via r/MMA)
Words cannot even begin to describe how abhorrent and borderline criminal referee Wiekus Swart’s performance was at yesterday’s EFC Africa 28 event. To quote Gene Wilder, Wiekus Smart is a “stupid, ignorant son of a bitch, dumb bastard” who should have his license revoked and be barred from attending an MMA event, watching an MMA event, or even listening to an MMA-themed podcast until he is shed of this mortal coil.
Let’s take a step back. About three weeks back, specifically, when EFC Africa fighter Booto Guylain died as a result of head injuries he suffered during a TKO loss to Keron Davies. It was a devastating moment for the tightly-knit EFC community, and one that EFC Africa President Cairo Howarth dubbed “a huge loss to the sport and to all who know him.”
It was also a tragedy placed at the forefront of EFC 28 yesterday, with all of the evening’s competitors donning a black armband to honor Guylain in a touching, if frightening reminder of how dangerous a sport MMA can be. Yet at this very same event, referee Swart allowed this catastrophe of common sense and human judgement to take place during a fight between Christophe Walravens and Bernado Mikixi.
How many illegal shots to the back of the head did you count after Walravens dropped Mikixi? 10? 12? How many seconds did you count between Walravens pleading with Swart to end the fight and Swart’s intervention?
I’ve never said that the job of an MMA referee was an easy one, nor have I ever claimed that I could do it better than those who do. But this is unforgivable. Allowing this man to continue refereeing MMA fights would be akin to allowing Denzel Washington’s character in Flight to continue flying planes.
In an era of MMA where referees are still only being held accountable for their actions on message boards and blogs, a precedence needs to be set that the job of protecting two trained fighters from killing one another is not one to be taken lightly, nor is it one that should be granted to any asshole with $600 and 3 days of spare time. An example needs to be made. Wiekus Swart is that example.