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Keith Kizer: MMA Instant Replay in the Works

(Anthony Johnson does his Bushwick Bill impression following his July 2008 fight against Kevin Burns.)

If Keith Kizer has his way, Dan Miragliotta and Steve Mazzagatti’s ability to fuck up fights by not paying attention could be severely limited by the year’s end. The Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director revealed yesterday on the GoodSports radio show that his commission is trying to figure out how an instant replay system could be incorporated into MMA, to be used only when a potentially illegal blow leads to the immediate end of a match (i.e., Mostapha Al Turk getting eye-poked by Mirko Cro Cop, and Anthony Johnson’s repeated pokes by Kevin Burns). As Kizer explained:

"Actually it was [UFC VP Marc Ratner's] idea years ago, and it just never went anywhere — mainly because of technology — but now I think we’re finally there…The problem with instant replay is, of course, even in football once the next play starts you can’t go back and review something. It’s the same with boxing or MMA. You can’t go back at the end of the round and look at whether something happened, say, one minute into the round. Had the ref called it differently, the rest of the round might have happened differently. Once there’s some action in that contest, you can’t go back…

Let’s say the referee doesn’t stop it and the knee was down and the guy got kneed in the head but the fight continued and the referee didn’t stop it, there’s nothing you can do about that now because the continuation. It would only be those situations where there’s an immediate stoppage of the fight and the ref wants to know was it an illegal blow, an intentional foul or an accidental foul that immediately stopped the fight. Then it would still be [the referee's] discretion. It wouldn’t be up to the commission. It wouldn’t be the corner. It wouldn’t be the promoter. It would be the referee’s decision, just like in football. If he looks at it and he can’t tell, you’ve got to go with the original call…I would think you could see [instant replay] as early as the end of the year if the commission agrees to make that regulatory change."

The addition would be long overdue. In the NFL, a blown call could affect the outcome of a game, but at least the players on the losing team still get paid their full salaries and keep their jobs. In the UFC, losing a fight means you don’t get your win bonus, and every loss can drastically alter your career path. It’s crucial that fighters don’t take losses on their records because of illegal blows that the ref simply didn’t see.

As for Mostapha Al Turk (6-5, 0-2 UFC), the UFC will be granting him another chance to make up for his loss via eye-poke, though Al Turk’s trainer at London Shootfighters, Paul Ivens, hopes Dan Miragliotta won’t be around for it:

"To be honest, what I will say is that I’m not a fan of that referee in question at all. I think he’s made a lot of questionable calls — twice now against real high-profile fights for our fighters. He was the referee for James Thompson. I was there in James’ corner for that fight [against Kimbo Slice], so that’s kind of twice our guys have been screwed a little bit by him. I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I think [Miragliotta] has made a couple of big mistakes now. I think he genuinely didn’t notice [the eye poke], but that’s his job. Him missing out on that for this fight and a previous fight — both in very high-profile fights for guys from my gym — is very annoying."

Cagepotato Comments

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dennis- June 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm
Holy SHIT! The Bushwick Bill comment made me laugh so hard. Wow, Mind is Playing Tricks on Me is one of my favorite rap songs ever.
just some dong- June 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm
Why do we always have to overcomplicate things when searching for a solution? Certain refs almost never make mistakes - Mario Yamasaki and Herb Dean spring to mind. So clearly the job can be done properly within the current rules.

Just fire the incompetent - problem solved.

brandorm- June 17, 2009 at 11:43 am
better yet, if there is found to be an illegal strike that was the cause of teh win/loss of the match, give the opportunity to elect between having the decision changed to a NC or a rematch. I think most fighters, the winner and loser would more than likely take the rematch rather than the NC.
831 Son- June 17, 2009 at 11:24 am
I think the UFC just needs to hire their own refs of their choice(if they were allowed to).

If only the Nevada athletic commision would fucking tell their referees to stop being so incompetent and fucking pathetic then we wouldnt have this problem.
Cookie Monster- June 17, 2009 at 10:30 am
we are embarking on a slippery slope my friends...pretty soon there will be timeouts and red challenge flags. lets leave it how it is. two fights out of how many and we need a replay system?? isn't there something to be said for tradition? life was/is/will never be fair, thats life. with that said, if the replay is implemented and is retroactive (it will never be), mike aina should be the first to go. which also raises another question, if the ref calls a foul but replay shows its not a foul, what happens?? suck it mike aina
Rich S.- June 17, 2009 at 10:24 am
What's this "technology" they're talking about?

WE ALL see the replays...
WE ALL saw (for Ex:) Al Turk get poked in the eye.. sure, it may have been after the fight.. but what's so hard about getting a little booth outside the cage to display replay footage..

Either way, I don't know how it would work..
I mean, you can't let a fighter go back to his corner, thinking he dominated the round, and then say "I just saw you grabbed the cage a few times, I'm going to have to take a point from you"..
And you sure as hell can't tell a fighter he didn't really win a fight after he's been announced the winner.. at least not in this case..
Kimbos Bread- June 17, 2009 at 9:57 am
It should be reviewed at the end of the match, right before they make the announcement of the result. That way, if there was something found in a replay, they can call it a "no contest" or "disqualification".
SlapjawAckrite- June 17, 2009 at 9:29 am
and that would keep the ppv rolling on schedule
SlapjawAckrite- June 17, 2009 at 9:29 am
If they were to use it as stated, only in event of a stoppage...have the ref from that fight looking at the replay while the next fight continues, then have Rogan mention the outcome in between rounds. Sure, it might mess up the official decision/hand raising of the winner previous, but in this case it would be worth it to a fighter who might have otherwise lost a bs call.
sPeLLcHeCkEr- June 17, 2009 at 8:38 am
Agree w/ Jeffro in that the timing of this whole issue even coming to light is a little too convenient given the Cro Cop situation.

Oh, and Miragliotta & Mazzagatti are total garbage refs. It's a wonder they still have jobs next to guys like Yamasaki and... hmm, well Lavigne isn't looking too good these days, is he?

Who were the Brit sounding refs they had in at 99? Aside from a couple of quick clinch breaks and standups, they seemed pretty on point.
frankpickle- June 17, 2009 at 8:36 am
Love the Bushwick Bill reference.

brandorm- June 17, 2009 at 8:26 am
It doesn't sound feasible. Say for instance, there is a one two and the second absolutely rocks the opponent but does not finish him and the ref steps in because he thinks that teh fist of teh two hits was an eye poke. Upon further review it was a clean shot. Now the fighter that got rocked has time to recover and it screw the one who rocked him. If this was happening every other fight then i would understand, but i don't think these missed calls are frequent enough to warrant instant replay.
Polish- June 17, 2009 at 8:20 am
That isn't a bad idea FatIrishPirate.

I've been saying they need to do something like this for a while now. It is needed.
rightaswrong- June 17, 2009 at 8:20 am
Give me a break... Mirko was rocking al-turk anyways, eye poke or not. He already had him on dream street, and as far as I'm concerned Mirko deserved the victory.
FatIrishPirate- June 17, 2009 at 8:17 am
I might be saying something that goes against some rule im not aware of, but why not put a receiver in the ref's ear and someone on the side, say the commentators position, can yell into the earpiece "stop the fight, eye poke eye poke" or "nut shot, nut shot" and then the ref can separate the fighters, give the injured his time out and review the tape?

is this suggestion unattainable?
Jay Smith- June 17, 2009 at 8:09 am
@ mayhem
Maybe if they cut the 30 minutes of fight previews, and start the fights right when the ppv begins, that will give them the extra time, should they need it, to run the instant replay. Just an idea. Also, if they don't end up having to use it, they would be able to show more undercard fights.
MIRJITSU- June 17, 2009 at 8:05 am
I bet Donald Cerrone is a proponent of that!
Old_Bald_and_Irish- June 17, 2009 at 7:55 am
It sounds like a good idea, but it just seems like it will be tough to pull off.

And I don't blame Paul Ivens for still being mad at Dan Miragliotta for the Kimbo/Thompson debacle. 13 unanswered/undefended shots to the head and you don't stop the fight?

Jeffro- June 17, 2009 at 7:47 am
Mirko will lose that win. Mark my words. Marc and Dana will get their buds at NSAC to remove it from his record.
mayhem- June 17, 2009 at 7:42 am
Good idea on paper, but I dont think it has a place in fighting.
Yea it sucks that you might get a loss via eye poke or groin strike (kongo) but thats the nature of being in a fight. I vote no for replay in MMA.... this would could very well cause some cards to go over the alloted time...and could prevent viewers paying for it on PPV from seeing the whole card (main card at least).
Jay Smith- June 17, 2009 at 7:40 am
I wonder if they will go back and remove some losses off of some guys records like AJ's. In cases where it is that obvious, I think that would be cool. I think this could work.