16 Mar 2009 12:03:33 PM
#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.Read More DIGG THIS