(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."