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Tag: Mario Yamasaki

The ‘UFC Fight Night 38′ Danavlog Further Highlights MMA’s Need to Embrace the Instant Replay

The recently-released ‘Fight Night 38′ Danavlog, which contains behind the scenes footage from both UFC 169 and 170, has all the makings of a classic Danavlog: nasty cuts and bruises, fighters breaking down backstage, and Matt Serra ripping on Ray Longo for the black eye that Kevin “mixed martial farts” James gave him. Toss in some classic Ronda Rousey mean-mugging, and you’ve got yourself a D-vlog (as the kids are calling them) right up there with “The gang finds a guy asleep behind the wheel.”

But about six and a half minutes into the video (6:24 to be precise), there’s a moment that displays something more than the usual mix of heartbreak and hilarity found in Danavlogs and actually warrants further investigation.

Referees Mario Yamasaki and Yves Lavigne are giving Daniel Cormier and Demian Maia, respectively, a few last-minute reminders about the rules, likely in an effort to avoid a Sims vs. Mir-level mishap. While Yamasaki simply reiterates to Cormier that covering up does not count as intelligent defense (seems like he should’ve saved that speech for Pat Cummins, amiright? *self-fives*), Lavigne informs Maia that even if his upcoming opponent, Rory MacDonald, were to tap, Maia should continue applying the submission until Lavigne pulls him off.

“I have to see the tap,” says Lavigne, “If I don’t see it and you let it go, and if he says ‘I didn’t tap,’ we’re screwed.”

Now, this should be concerning for a multitude of reasons…

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Exclusive Interview: Inside the Mind of MMA Referee Mario Yamasaki


(Not only does Yamasaki officiate MMA bouts, he also resurrects blunt force trauma victims. Photo Credit: Esther Lin)

By Jason Moles

In a world of barbarous blitzkriegs and surreptitious submissions, seasoned referee Mario Yamasaki is the epitome of thinking on your feet. Having reffed over 400 fights in the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, EliteXC and Pride Fighting Championships, Yamasaki has been in the cage with the best fighters the world has to offer – and tried to keep them safe in the controlled carnage that is professional cage fighting. CagePotato caught up with Yamasaki earlier this week and we asked him about everything from controversial stoppages to being accosted by Joe Rogan. Here’s what one of MMA’s best referees had to say.

CagePotato: How long have you been an MMA referee?

Mario Yamasaki: I started around 1992 at local shows in Brazil.

CP: What first captivated you about MMA and is that what lead you to your current profession?

MY: I started doing Judo back in 1968, so the mat was my home. My father had 14 studios in São Paulo and when I was either 19 or 20 years old I thought that I was a great fighter because I use to train with the Brazilian National team in Judo and could kick a lot of people’s butt. When I met Marcelo Behring I got controlled on the ground like I never had before, so I was intrigued with that situation and instead of walking away I said, “Let me learn that so I can become even better than I am.”

From the beginning, I had an advantage against other students because of my background in Judo so I became one of the best students he had. So was my brother, so we started helping him in his private classes so we could learn more and faster. As far as the refereeing part, my father & uncle went to 5 Olympic games as referees and I learned from them.

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Opinion: Instant Replay in MMA Would Create More Questions Than Answers


(“Okay, we’re going to restart you guys in the position you were in when the foul occurred. Mirko, please put your index finger on Mostapha’s eyeball.”)

By Marcus Mitchell

It wasn’t the vicious first-round submissions that followed it. It wasn’t the stiffening spinning wheel kick knockout that preceded it. It wasn’t even the devastating KO from the champ’s knee in the main event. It was a single controversial decision that had everyone’s attention after the UFC’s last visit to Brazil.

How is it that names like Rousimar Palhares, Gabriel Gonzaga, Jose Aldo, and even Vitor Belfort paled in comparison to Mario Yamasaki? Never mind that Gonzaga finally got a big win or that the Phenom had rebounded from his embarrassing loss to fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva. Yamasaki’s decision to overturn an apparent first round TKO had everyone up in arms.

Most notably incensed by the fight’s result was UFC President Dana White. Steve Mazzagatti could only listen in disbelief as Dana White actually defended a referee that made a mistake. Instead of blaming Yamasaki personally, Dana White rekindled the ever-smoldering topic of instant replay: “There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. There’s nothing wrong. We’re [expletive] human. We’re going to do it. But you have to be able to go back and say, ‘We made a mistake. Here’s the proof. Let’s overturn it.’

But would the addition of instant replay in MMA really be the answer to botched referee decisions? Or would it create even more unforeseen problems?

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Carlo Prater Blasts ‘Unethical’ Joe Rogan for His Criticism of Mario Yamasaki at UFC 142


(“What is…a donkey punch?”)

Joe Rogan has never been one to hide his opinions. Whether it’s an early stoppage, a late stoppage, or a botched judges’ decision, many UFC fights have ended with Rogan passionately expressing his disagreement. But at UFC 142 earlier this month, Rogan went even further and corralled referee Mario Yamasaki for an unscheduled post-fight interview, asking Yamasaki to justify his disqualification of Erick Silva for shots to the back of the head. It was an uncomfortable moment, but as Rogan explained, he felt it was his duty to ask the questions that the viewers might have at that moment.

One notable fighter has come forward to stand up for Yamasaki — Carlo Prater, the guy who actually took the alleged illegal shots from Silva that night. As Prater sees it, his perspective and Yamasaki’s perspective hold a lot more weight than Joe Rogan’s, who’s just a “swagger,” in his opinion. (Continue reading for a definition of “swagger” as used in this context. It might not be what you think.) Here’s what Prater told SportTV.com in a new interview:

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UFC Quoteathon: Joe Rogan Explains Himself, Guillard Leaves Team Jackson, And Chael Sonnen Is Still Bitter


(An artist’s depiction of what was going through Joe Rogan’s mind the moment he found out Eric Silva had been DQ’ed. And yes, Joe Rogan appears in his own fantasies.) 

Much has been made of Joe Rogan‘s impromptu interview with referee Mario Yamasaki following his decision to disqualify Erick Silva at UFC 142 this past weekend. Some are saying it was a totally unprofessional move by Rogan, while others believe it would have been unprofessional of him not to question the seemingly botched ruling by the longtime UFC official. Whether or not you agree with Rogan’s decision (or Yamasaki’s, for that matter), we can all agree that the Silva/Prater fight proved the necessity for a stricter policy in regards to an instant replay in areas other than Nevada. Rogan, however, has already taken to the internet, specifically the UG, to explain why he chose to put Yamasaki on the spot:

He’s a great guy, and I’m always happy to see him. When I step into the octagon however, I represent the people watching at home that might have obvious questions, and when something is controversial I’m forced to confront it honestly because that’s what I would want to hear from a person in my position if I was a fan watching it at home.

I think Mario Yamasaki is one of the best in the world at refereeing MMA. No doubt about it. He’s got great insight to the sport, he’s a life long martial artist, and he’s a really smart guy. What I was acting from, is that I saw an incredible young talent get denied a KO victory for a questionable call. When I entered into the Octagon and was told of the official ruling that Silva was going to be disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head everyone that I was around who heard the news opened their mouths in shock. Everyone said, “what?”

The people in the truck couldn’t believe it. I had to read it back to them because I thought it was a mistake, and when I leaned over to explain it to Goldie he couldn’t believe it either. I had to ask Mario about it. I didn’t know how he was going to respond, but I had to ask him.

Erick Silva is a very promising fighter and I felt like I had a responsibility to address the issue. No disrespect intended.

Join us after the jump for more interesting tidbits from around the MMA world, some of which may or may not be completely made up.

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UFC 142: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

UFC 142 Gabriel Gonzaga
(Face, you are a scary. / Photo via FOX Sports)

By Mark Dorsey
One final recap of Saturday night’s UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes event, Clint Eastwood-style.

The Good
Edson Barboza‘s astounding spinning heel kick knockout of Terry Etim. Mike Goldberg might have been exaggerating a bit when he called it “maybe the most spectacular knockout in UFC history,” but it’s certainly the early front-runner for Greatest Knockout of 2012. And props to Joe Rogan for immediately recalling Baraboza’s prior use of the kick against Anthony Njokuani. As Rogan mentioned, it’s an under-utilized technique that we may start to see come in-vogue in 2012, much like the crane kick in 2011.

Gabriel Gonzaga needed a good performance to provoke any sort of excitement in his return to the UFC’s heavyweight division. Even sweeter than his early finish was his proclamation that we can expect to see him return to the submission base that generated so much interest in his first run at UFC contention.

• After two highly energetic Brazilian shows within a year, the UFC has found its most passionate and dedicated audience. The crowd at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro was loud, enthusiastic, and everything one would expect from a bunch of rowdy Brazilian fight fans. There was a good amount of variation in the chants throughout the night — from “U.S.A., to “Thiago,” to the famous soccer anthem “ole ole ole” — and a surreal crowd-surfing celebration from defending featherweight champion Jose Aldo capped off the incredible fan involvement.

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‘UFC Live: Cruz Vs. Johnson’ Aftermath: Those Cats Were Fast as Lightning

After weeks of height-related gags, Struve still wasn’t done rubbing his length advantage in Barry’s face. (Photo: Tracy Lee via Yahoo Sports!)

Sandwiched between two marquee UFC cards, last night’s UFC Live flew under the promotional radar. It’s understandable that Zuffa would focus more on two stacked pay per view cards than a Versus broadcast, but in a time when fights are hyped for months only to fall short when the bell rings, it’s rare to see a card that delivers so much action from Facebook to the main event. Add to the mix that there was gold on the line and the lack of promotion for this event is borderline criminal. Only two fights on the card were decided by the judges—though just as many were decided by the referees—and either of them could have earned FOTN honors. We’ve got a lot to cover, so hunker down.

First off, I’d like to welcome back an old friend. Elbows, we’d nearly forgotten about you, but last night you were ushered back into society like the queen of a violent debutant ball. Bored with simply working on teeth, “The Dentist” performed a full-facial extraction via elbow on Keith Wisniewski during the Facebook broadcast. Cut stoppages aren’t my favorite, but these ‘bows we’re seeing from the clinch are brutal, damage inflicting blows that you’ve got to stop before they stop you, and I like them. Speaking of which…

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Joey Beltran is Not Cool With His Loss to Pat Barry Saturday Night


("Take a deep breath, Joey. This will all be over soon.")

When Pat Barry left Joey Beltran laying in a heap barely able to get up at the end of their heavyweight scrap on Saturday night, choosing Beltran as the winner of the bout seemed like an unlikelihood unless you were Cecil Peoples. 

It depends on who you ask, I guess.

According to Fight Metric, "The Mexecutioner" landed more punches in the bout even if they were ineffective for the most part. Beltran is of the opinion that he did enough to win and that besides the unintentional eye poke he took in the third round which led to a just stoppage, referee Mario Yamasaki all but cost him the fight by calling for breaks and restarts when the two fighters seemed to be stalling on the cage and by stopping the fight when Beltran had an advantageous position when Pat claimed to be kicked in the berries.

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The Five Best Referees in MMA

#5: Josh Rosenthal

(Nick Diaz vs. Thomas Denny @ EliteXC: Unfinished Business, 7/26/08)

With his trademark half-smirk during faceoffs and soft-spoken vibe, Josh Rosenthal brings some much-needed positive energy to the mean-muggin’ atmosphere of MMA. And though his stoppage in the first Chael Sonnen/Paulo Filho fight at WEC 31 drew controversy — in the eyes of Sonnen, at least — he’s one of those guys you rarely hear about because he just does his job in a quiet, dependable sort of way. Could 2009 be Rosenthal’s breakout year?

#4: Mario Yamasaki

(Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell 2 @ UFC 66, 12/30/06)

Mario Yamasaki fell into the referee gig when a UFC trip to Brazil (where Yamasaki was born) highlighted their need for another ref in addition to Big John McCarthy.  Since he was a lifelong martial arts enthusiast and jiu-jitsu expert, Yamasaki was a good fit.  His biggest problem as a ref might be that he looks a little too much like Steve Mazzagatti, and that can be a career-killer.  The difference is that Yamasaki gives fighters a chance to recover, but also knows when to stop a bout (despite maybe one or two notable exceptions, depending on who you ask), as he did when he mercifully ended the second Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell fight – a decision he was criticized for by Ortiz, and no one else.

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