(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
During a meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, representatives for Brock Lesnar asked that NSAC remove veteran referee Steve Mazzagatti from consideration for UFC 91′s heavyweight title fight between Lesnar and Randy Couture. While reffing Lesnar’s UFC debut against Frank Mir in February, Mazzagatti called for a pause in the action and a point-deduction when Lesnar seemed to be landing punches to the back of Mir’s head — a decision that arguably cost Lesnar the fight. And it sounds like Brock is still sour about it:
[A]ttorneys David Olsen and Brian Stegeman made their aversion to the referee’s presence known…[claiming] Mazzagatti was “involved in what we believe was a controversial ruling in connection with the Mir-Lesnar fight.” They asked that Mazzagatti be removed from consideration for the UFC 91 main event to avoid “distraction” and “any further controversy.”
It’s unclear how much Olsen and Stegeman’s request influenced the final choice of referee for UFC 91′s main event, though Sherdog says Mario Yamasaki will be the one presiding over the bout. I didn’t know fighters could try to veto referees they don’t like, and I wonder if this will set a precedent where everybody begins requesting that Mazzagatti stay out of their fight. After all, Steve’s the genius who let Kevin Burns eye-poke his way to victory, and has been responsible for more than his share of weird stoppages, from the dangerously late (Boetsch/Heath) to the retardedly indecisive (MacDonald/Doerksen).
Still, if I was Randy Couture, I might be concerned. Does this mean that rabbit-punches are still part of Brock’s game-plan?