Referee Dan Miragliotta is certainly no stranger to controversy.
Beginning with his performance during the "EliteXC: Primetime" bout between Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson and James Thompson, seemingly every decision made by Miragliotta in the cage is open to some degree of criticism.
So it should have been of little surprise when an accidental eye-poke in the closing minute of Saturday night's UFC 93 main-event bout between Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin left Miragliotta's performance open to public evaluation.
Except as Nick Lembo, legal counsel to the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Miragliotta handled the situation exactly as MMA's current guidelines dictate.
"With accidental fouls, such as an eyepoke -- which this sounds kind of like the Scott Smith vs. Robbie Lawler fight -- the referee sees the eyepoke, and the first thing the referee has to determine is was it accidental or was it intentional," Lembo said. "At that point he assesses the fighter and the referee makes a decision whether or not to bring in the doctor."
The controversy began when Henderson clearly jammed fingers on his left hand deep into Franklin's right eye. The blow was accidental, and Henderson immediately apologized. Franklin was clearly affected, but Miragliotta initially refused to allow "Ace" any time to recover.Link