Marc Ratner: UFC aiming to increase quality of MMA officiating nationwide
Marc Ratner: UFC aiming to increase quality of MMA officiating nationwide
by John Morgan on Jul 05, 2009 at 12:55 pm ET
With power comes responsibility, and the heads of the UFC understand that as well as anyone.
While the UFC is clearly the sport's largest – and most profitable – organization, much of the growth in regulation and acceptance of the sport of mixed martial arts is thanks to the Las Vegas-based promotion.
With nationwide regulation nearing completion, UFC exec Marc Ratner recently told the MMAjunkie.com Radio Network (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that increasing the quality of officiating was one of his next big projects.
"That's one of my other charges, is trying to make the officials better – get better referees, teaching more and doing more seminars," Ratner said. "We're going to do more of that, hopefully, next year."
Ratner said the first step is getting all 50 states to ratify regulation of mixed martial arts. Once complete, the UFC can work with the commissions to assist them in training both referees and judges.
"The first thing we want to do is get all the states to regulate [MMA]," Ratner said. "Once all the states regulate it, we can try to put some national seminars together. The Association of Boxing Commissions, which should now be called the Association of Combat Commissions, they're going to start doing some of that stuff."
While UFC president Dana White has often been openly critical of officials, Ratner offered a more understanding view of the state of MMA judging and refereeing.
"We need to keep on trying to make it better, trying to get a commonality of philosophy," Ratner said. "But some of the things I've read about – 'Oh, these decisions were horrible' – these fights are close fights. The Clay Guida fight with Diego (Sanchez at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale), that's a tough fight to score. Some of those rounds were real close.
"The first round, some people scored that round 10-8. That was as dominant of a round as you're going to see. That's one of the problems whether it's boxing or MMA. not all 10-9 rounds are equal, but they're scored equal. Certainly a wide round like the first round in that fight compared to the third round which was razor-thin depending on who you give it to, it gives the appearance that the judging isn't that consistent. But when you have a 10-9 system, that's what happens."
Despite the challenges a 10-point-must system can create in a three-round contest, Ratner does not see a need to change the process. Instead, he hopes increased experience, coupled with education, can help to improve officiating.
"We as a company will help [the commissions] try to get more certification for officials," Ratner said. "But you still have to learn on the job. You can take all these tests – I was a Division I football official for 20 years. You can do everything, you can pass a test, you can get a 100, but until you're in that game situation and have to make a (call), there's nothing like experience and watching yourself on film.
"We go to some of these states and these officials have never worked in front of a big crowd before and they freeze a little bit. You have to get over that. It's a learning curve."
Ratner believes a system that provides for regional training seminar, in addition to a national certification process, could help improve performance.
"I think that's a possibility," Ratner said. "(But) it would be a little bit tough. I think you're better off with regional seminars to start with.
"A lot of these guys aren't going to have the money to travel, and you have to pay for the course. But I'd like to see it regionally and then possibly have some kind of a final certification here."
It's an ambitious idea, and one Ratner hopes to commence after the sport's current struggle for nationwide regulation ends. No rest for the weary, and that certainly includes the former Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director.
"It's so busy, my best analogy is like if you climb this mountain for UFC 100, you're trying to get to the top of the mountain and look down, but there's no down," Ratner said. "There's another mountain right behind it. You're constantly moving, constantly climbing, but that's the exciting part of being at the UFC. You're constantly in action. You're busy, and it's exciting."
Heavyweight prospect Lavar Johnson reportedly fighting for life after suffering gunshot wound
Strikeforce, WEC and Palace Fighting Championship veteran Lavar Johnson (12-3) is reportedly battling for his life after suffering a gun shot wound early Sunday morning.
Johnson and three others were injured in Bakersfield, Calif., just after 12 a.m. PT Sunday morning when an unidentified assailant opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun at a gathering that the fighter was attending.
A fifth victim, Anthony Mack Johnson, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene.
While MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Johnson is currently under medical supervision, Bakersfield police representatives were unsure of which hospital was currently treating the heavyweight fighter.
Retirement update: Chuck Liddell to sit out until at least April 2010 to heal his brain
“I haven’t personally made a decision one way or the other. Hopefully my brain can heal over time. The shot last fight is something that normally wouldn’t hurt me. I think I need at least some time off from getting hit. I’m going to take time off sparring then. I’ll train still. Still gonna roll. I’ll probably do a little more jiu-jitsu than normal because I like it. It’s fun.”
Former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell plans to take a year off to unscramble his brains before making a decision on retirement. “The Iceman” is coming off a technical knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97: “Redemption” from the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, back in April. It marked the fourth loss in his last five fights. Company president Dana White has pressed his good friend and big time money-making machine to hang up the gloves, saying he has made a ton of cash and has nothing left to prove. Liddell — who will be forty years old by the time April 2010 rolls around — clearly needs more time. Sit tight, Maniacs, this one is far from over.
Gesias JZ Cavalcante to Compete at DREAM.11 but not Against Eddie Alvarez
There were rumors of Gesias JZ Cavalcante taking on the Eddie Alvarez at DREAM.11, but now JZ told Tatame he will still fight on the card, but not against the Lightweight Bellator Champ:
They offered me Eddie Alvarez and I was excited, but it seems that he’s injured or had some other problem and won’t be able to fight in the event. I’m confirmed in Dream 11, but I still have no opponent
Henderson Plans To Silence Critics And Bisping
One of the living legends of mixed martial arts, Dan Henderson, will do battle once again on July 11 on a UFC 100 fight card that is truly of historic origins, much like “Hendo” himself.
Making a name overseas, the Team Quest co-founder has accomplished things that most fighters could only dream of.
The UFC, Walking a Fine Line between Business and Sport
It would seem that Zuffa, owner of the UFC, is in the middle of operation clampdown. I’m referring to the banning of numerous apparel companies (or charging them a fee of $100,000) and now the alleged threat regarding the Electronic Arts (EA) MMA game.
In most cases I’m a supporter of the UFC when it comes to business decisions. Even if I think they are harsh or delivered in a not so couth manner, they still seem to work and whether we like it or not, the running of a promotion is a business. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the UFC has done a great deal for the sport and continues to do so.
Every now and then however, an issue arises that I just can’t comprehend. The threat of banning fighters from the UFC for life if they sign on with EA’s MMA game (a game that would compete against THQ’s UFC Undisputed), even if they don’t currently fight for the promotion, is simply outrageous and bordering on tyrannical.
Brock Lesnar: 'I've Improved Dramatically' Since First Frank Mir Fight
UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is hoping to avenge his only loss and unify the heavyweight title against interim champion Frank Mir at UFC 100. And Lesnar says Mir is going to find out when they fight that Lesnar is a much better fighter than he was when they first met a year and a half ago.
"I've improved dramatically," Lesnar said on a call this week to promote their main event bout at UFC 100.
Pittsburgh's first MMA event draws the attention of UFC, though perhaps not as intended
While Still Standing Productions, LLC recently conducted Pittsburgh's first MMA event, the organization may find itself needing to make a few changes before a announcing a second card.
The Ultimate Cage Fighting Challenge has drawn the attention of the sport's biggest organization, the UFC, and a copyright infringement claim may be forthcoming.
UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner recently told the MMAjunkie.com Radio Network that the UFC was currently looking at potential action against the upstart organization.
"We're always happy to see fans, and we love competition," Ratner told MMAjunkie.com. "There's nothing wrong with it. But there's some copyright infringement problems when they call themselves the UCFC.
Minnesota MAA's Greg Nelson happy in background as Brock Lesnar moves to forefront
As the athletes of the UFC continue to gain attention, so, too, do the teams that help them prepare for each bout.
While most hardcore fans can run off a quick list of the best trainers and academies in the sport, Minnesota Martial Arts Academy Head Instructor and Owner Greg Nelson's name doesn't always come directly to mind.
And though UFC stalwarts Brock Lesnar, Sean Sherk and Brock Larson, among others, call the academy home, Nelson doesn't mind staying in the background.
‘Spider’ Man: An interview with Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva needs no introduction. He is arguably the best mixed martial arts fighter on the planet.
With a record-breaking nine consecutive UFC wins to his credit (and counting), he has been as dominant as any fighter in the history of the sport during his reign.
Recently however, his showings against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites have been the subject of criticism from fans, media and even the UFC management.
In both match-ups, Silva appeared content being cautious, counter striking and staying mistake free.
Michael Bisping isn't feeling the love
Michael Bisping is fighting mad. Fortunately for him, UFC 100 is only a week away.
He's mad at his opponent, Dan Henderson. He's peeved at what he senses is a lack of respect within the fighting community. And he knows that a win over Henderson, the only man ever to simultaneously hold two major weight class titles, would force his skeptics to eat their words.
"I think Dan Henderson is an [expletive], and I'm going to knock him out," said Bisping.
Aaron Simpson hints at UFC Fight Night 19 return, fight with middleweight Dan Miller
Aaron Simpson (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) could meet fellow middleweight Dan Miller (11-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at September's Spike TV-televised UFC Fight Night 19 event.
Simpson first posted news of the bout on his Facebook page. However, perhaps jumping the gun before he got the greenlight to officially announce the fight, he later issued a disclaimer: "Sorry. That was not official. Still waiting."
Simpson, an Arizona Combat Sports fighter previously reportedly set for a return at UFC 103 in September, joined the UFC after a November 2008 victory over David Avellan in the WEC. Simpson made his octagon debut against Tim McKenzie and needed less than two minutes to post the TKO win at UFC Fight Night 18. Simpson, a two-time All-American wrestler and former coach at Arizona State University, has now posted knockout victories in all five of his professional bouts (four in the first round).
Miller, a former IFL champion, recently suffered his first loss in the UFC when he dropped a unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen at UFC 98. Prior to the loss, he had defeated Rob Kimmons (submission), Matt Horwich (decision) and Jake Rosholt (submission) in UFC contests to extend his overall win streak to nine straight fights.
Report: CroCop Signing for UFC after getting "offer he cannot refuse"
"UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta has made Mirko 'CroCop' Filipovic "an offer he cannot refuse", according to a Croatian news portal.
Fertitta arrived in Zagreb, Croatia on a private plane this morning and proceeded straight to Filipovic's residence where the pair engaged in two hours of talks, according to Index.hr
"A source tells us that CroCop got an offer that is simply non-refusable," the article states. "CroCop will almost certainly look at the returning to the strongest MMA league in the world currently knows."
The news is surprising, not least because UFC president Dana White gave Filipovic a broadside when it was reported the Croatian had signed for Japanese promotion DREAM immediately after UFC 99."
GSP SAYS FLORIAN WILL BE A GREAT CHAMPION
On Aug. 8, Kenny Florian will take a second crack at the UFC lightweight title, this time battling current champion B.J. Penn at UFC 101, and while the Boston native has always had a top-notch camp, he decided to venture out this time for some extra support.
The extra support comes in the form of UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, the only fighter to have two wins over Penn, and who himself is in final preparations for his UFC 100 bout against Thiago Alves.
Luiz Cane: I want to fight Rich Franklin
The UFC's light heavyweight class has long been considered a marquee division. Deep on talent, the fighters at 205 pounds have put on classic matchups, and the second half of 2009 looks no different.
Lyoto Machida vs. Maurico "Shogun" Rua. Rashad Evans vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva.
But with a number of exciting fights lined up in the coming months, where does that leave Brazilian slugger Luiz Cane (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)?
Misaki Will Fight But Won't Be Paid
Kazuo Misaki will get his August bout with Kazuhiro Nakamura, but with none of the expected perks.
World Victory Road director Takahiro Kokuho announced Thursday that Sengoku's Aug. 2 "Ninth Battle" card at the Saitama Super Arena will still feature a bout between Misaki and Kazuhiro Nakamura. However, the legally embattled "Grabaka Hitman" will not receive his fight purse and, immediately following the bout, will face an indefinite suspension from Sengoku competition.
Misaki had pled guilty in the Tokyo District Court to obstruction of justice on June 25. The plea was in regard to a March 19 incident in which the former Pride grand prix champion sped away from a police officer who had attempted to cite him for talking on his cell phone while driving. Misaki was given a three-year suspended sentence following his plea, and Kokuho announced the following day that World Victory Road's commission would convene in the coming days to decide on an appropriate course of action.
GSP Static Interview
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre recently took time to answer some questions for PDG regarding his upcoming bout against Thiago Alves, training and the importance of UFC 100.
PDG: How is your training going for UFC 100?
GSP: I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m training really hard before my fight. Three weeks I spent in New York doing Muay Thai at the Wat with Phil Nurse and all the guys over there, sparring with Shawn Imes, Brad Imes and all those great training partners that I have for Muay Thai training. I’m learning a lot from Kru Phil. I also train in New York at the Renzo Gracie Academy under supervision of John Danaher – he’s my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. I have great training partners there as well. The level of jiu-jitsu in New York at Renzo Gracie is better than it is in Montreal, so that’s one of the main reasons why I have been going there and I spend so much time at that Academy.