(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.com)
Jon Jones isn’t mad. He says this several times, and it seems very important to him that people understand it. If it was left entirely to him, he says, he probably wouldn’t be appealing his disqualification loss. That part was mostly his management’s doing. At the same time, he doesn’t think he got a fair shake from referee Steve Mazzagatti at the TUF 10 Finale. It’s not that Jones disputes Mazzagatti’s ruling that his downward elbow strikes were illegal — he admits that they were. But he doesn’t think it was what really caused the fight to be stopped, nor does he believe that Mazzagatti did what he should have done in the wake of the foul. As he told me for this SI.com article:
“A big part of it is that Mazzagatti just didn’t handle things right,” explained Jones. “You know, he’s standing over Matt Hamill, who can’t see at the time because he has blood in his eyes, and obviously he can’t hear, and Mazzagatti is standing there asking him if he’s okay. Then he stops the fight.”
If you go back and watch the video of the fight, what you see is Mazzagatti standing over Hamill and asking him twice, "Are you done?" Hamill doesn’t answer — maybe because he doesn’t even realize Mazzagatti is asking him a question — and that’s when the fight is waved off.
According to one of Jones’ managers, Jason Genet, Mazzagatti’s error was in not bringing in a translator to find out why Hamill couldn’t continue. If he had, Genet maintains, he would have discovered that it was the shoulder injury sustained during the takedown that was responsible, and not the illegal elbows.
But anyone who follows the UFC and/or Dana White’s video blogs closely won’t be surprised to hear that Mazzagatti may have made a crucial mistake. He’s the guy DW called "the worst referee in the history of fighting." Only somehow Jones had no idea about any of that until he got home and did some research on the internet:
“I didn’t really know anything about him until I went and read some of the blogs and found out that no one thinks he’s a good ref. The UFC seems to hate this guy. No one thinks he’s good at what he does. I guess this isn’t the first time something has happened with him.
“This is all so new to me. I’m learning a lot about the game through this. But hopefully this will help [Mazzagatti] too, maybe get him to buckle down and become a little better at what he does. This is important to all of us who do it. We have careers to think about and bills to pay.”