The Issues of Referee and Judge Certification
‘Showdown’ Joe Ferraro has an excellent piece up at Rogers Sportsnet that details his experience with ‘Big’ John McCarthy’s referee certification seminar, C.O.M.M.A.N.D. (Certification of Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development).
The course is broken down into three areas and participants require a passing grade of 90 percent (at minimum in all three) to be certified. As it stands today, the course has a 75 percent failure rate, as participants simply do not make the grade to officiate or judge in MMA.
Would-be referees must know and identify over 25 takedowns, 35 submissions, 25 positions and seven sweeps, reversals and transitions. They also must know the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts inside and out.
After the identification of the aforementioned moves and keen knowledge of the unified rules, participants are also trained and tested on in ring / cage mechanics. This is comprised of what is required by an official before, during and after a bout. It’s not just about positioning (which is HUGE when refereeing) but dozens of other variables that are key to the safety of the athletes who put it all on the line.
All of this knowledge is paramount for one to be proficient in officiating and without it I do not understand how commissions around the world allow men and women to step into the cage/ring and ref without proving they have this type of knowledge.
If the four major sports leagues — the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL — mandate that officials are properly trained before being allowed to step onto the playing surface, why doesn’t MMA do the same? If this sport is expected to be taken seriously then this type of certification must be the bare minimum an athletic commission requires from an applicant prior to receiving their license to ref or judge.
Not so fast, Tito...
In a video interview we recently posted with Tito Ortiz shot this past weekend in Pittsburgh, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" said that he is set to start his own organization, Punishment Fighting Championships, in association with Strikeforce.
"I'm starting my own organization also with Strikeforce called "Punishment Fighting Championships," Ortiz said. "So, you know, just not as a promoter, I'll be competing also, and bringing some other guys around and trying to create superstars."
However, when Fanhouse contacted Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz Tuesday, he made it pretty clear that no agreement is in place with Ortiz.
"I don't know anything about it," Afromowitz said........
Lyoto Machida: Fighter of the Half Year
The year is half over, and we're recognizing the best in MMA in the first six months of 2009. Up first is our Fighter of the Half Year, Lyoto Machida.
Heading into 2009, there were still a lot of MMA fans who ripped Machida as the kind of fighter who would rather avoid a fight than engage in one. Not many people are saying that after a half year in which Machida knocked out two previously undefeated fighters, Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans.
The win over Silva at UFC 94 gave us a good look at Machida's punching power, and the brutal knockout of Evans showed that Machida has the kind of killer instinct that great fighters need. Machida, so far, has been the best fighter of 2009.
Here are some of the runners-up for Fighter of the Half Year:
Mike Brown: The World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champ is 2-0 in 2009, with a first-round destruction of Leonard Garcia in March and an epic five-round war with Urijah Faber in June.
Jamie Varner: I'm Not Retiring
Jamie Varner's mixed martial arts career is not in jeopardy. The WEC lightweight champion's broken right hand has still not healed since his January title defense against Donald Cerrone forcing the organization to book an interim title match between Cerrone and rising star Ben Henderson.
However, when FanHouse contacted Varner to comment on a Youngstown Vindicator report stating he "may never fight again," Varner simply said, "That's bullsh*t."
Ryo Chonan, Masakazu Imanari Return to DEEP
Five fighters took to the ring during the intermission of Tuesday night's DEEP "42nd Impact" at Korakuen Hall, which saw Riki Fukuda (15-4) crowned as the new middleweight champion and the seemingly reborn Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7) improve his current win streak to two.
Kyle Kingsbury and Razak Al-Hassan agree to UFC 104 bout in October
A light-heavyweight bout between Kyle Kingsbury (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Razak Al-Hassan (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), originally targeted for UFC 102 in August, will instead take place in October at UFC 104.
A source close to the fighters today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) verbal agreements are in place and the fight could be signed as early as this week.
UFC 104 takes place Oct. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The night's main card airs on pay-per-view, and the Kingsbury vs. Al-Hassan fight is expected to take place on the night's un-aired preliminary card.
Middleweight Rob Kimmons signs new four-fight deal with the UFC
Following a 2-1 record in the world's premier MMA organization, middleweight Rob Kimmons has signed a new four-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A source close to the fighter today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the 28-year-old fighter recently accepted the new deal.
Kimmons (22-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) most recently defeated Joe Vedepo via first-round submission at UFC Fight Night 18 in April.
It was the sixth win in seven fights for Kimmons, a Midwesterner who's now 13-2 over the past three years.
Javier Vazquez says Din Thomas, state commission to blame for "Ultimate Chaos" fiasco
As with any dispute, there are always two sides to every story.
And as "Ultimate Chaos" victor Javier Vazquez today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) such was the case with this past Friday's weigh-in fiasco in Biloxi, Miss., which ultimately cost Din Thomas a chance to fight – and took money from Vazquez's pocket.
"I never went up to the commission," Vazquez said. "I never bitched and complained. I never said anything. It wasn't my job to do that. That's the commission's job to do that."
Heath Herring taking time to clear head, refocus; timeframe for return not yet established
It doesn't take more than simply glancing over UFC heavyweight Heath Herring's (28-14 MMA, 2-3 UFC) record to see what kind of fighter he is.
While "The Texas Crazy Horse" hasn't won every fight he's ever entered, Herring has fought the world's toughest fighters throughout his 12-year career.
But despite having fought 42 times in bouts all over the globe, his UFC 99 withdrawal provided Herring a new experience that has forced him to take a little time away from the sport.
Varner: Interim Title Is ‘Glorified Second Place’
Donald Cerrone will meet Benson Henderson for the interim WEC lightweight championship at WEC 43, but current titleholder Jamie Varner says the gold they’re fighting for is “garbage.”
“It’s funny; it’s like the interim belt is a glorified second place,” Varner told Sherdog.com. “To me, I think that’s bulls--t. The interim belt doesn’t mean anything. They have a belt, but they don't have the belt. It’s garbage.”
The interim title fight between Cerrone and Henderson will take place Sept. 2 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio.
(Spoiler?? not really)Size Matters: The Ultimate Fighter Season Ten Roll Call
We are currently three weeks deep into the taping of the upcoming tenth season of Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter. This season is set to feature nothing but the big boys as sixteen larger than life warriors will be duking it out to determine the king of the heavyweight Ultimate Fighter crop.
The Ultimate Fighter: The Heavyweights could already be considered the most highly anticipated show of the series largely in part of the recent announcement that none other than Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice was expected to enter the shark tank.
The timing couldn’t be any better. I don’t think that I’m alone in saying that the most recent season of the show was the most lackluster of the series to date. Never have I been as unengaged with a season of TUF before season nine.
The most successful television show in mixed martial arts needed a drastic change, or a makeover in a sense. It needed something, and it looks like it has found its answer in the form of sixteen mammoth sized brawlers willing to put their bodies on the line in the pursuit of their dream to become a UFC heavyweight.
A full list of the men expected to appear on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter was recently released by the popular U.K. newspaper, The Sun. Among them are four former professional football players, a portly wrecking machine, a thugged out Internet sensation, UFC veterans and MMA rookies alike, The Ultimate Fighter: The Heavyweights is sure to have quite the variety of personalities and schools of thought
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva likely for Sengoku in September, return to U.S. action possible
Former EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (12-1) will likely appear at the as-yet-unannounced World Victory Road's "Sengoku 10th Battle" event in September.
Silva's manager, Alex Davis, today informed MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) of the potential bout, as well as his client's desire to return to action in the U.S.
"I think that probably by next year you'll see him back in the U.S.," Davis said. "I'd like him back in the States; that's our goal. Right now we still have a contract with Sengoku. He's probably going to fight in September. If that goes well, possibly for a Sengoku title at the end of the year."
Youngstown, Ohio hosts WEC 43 on Sept. 2, Jamie Varner won't be stripped of title
As company executives hinted earlier this year, World Extreme Cagefighting will, in fact, make its Ohio debut in 2009.
WEC General Manager Reed Harris today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that WEC 43 is set for Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the 6,000-seat Covelli Centre in Youngstown.
However, despite recent reports, injured champion Jamie Varner will not be stripped of his WEC lightweight title, and WEC 43 headliners and top contenders Donald Cerrone (10-1) and Benson Henderson (9-1) will instead fight for an interim lightweight belt, Harris said.
A number of reports, citing a Youngstown Vindicator story, stated Varner would be stripped of his belt and that it would then be contested by Cerrone and Henderson. However, Harris said that won't be the case.
Jamie Varner to be stripped of belt; Cerrone vs. Henderson will be for WEC lightweight title
It appears as though current WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner may be forced to the sidelines indefinitely.
According to a recent report on Vindy.com, WEC founder and general manager Reed Harris said that Varner may never fight again due to the broken foot and hand sustained in his previous bout with Donald Cerrone.
That match-up was cut short when Cerrone struck a downed Varner in the face with an illegal knee in the fifth round. When it was ruled that the defending champion was unable to continue, the fight went to the scorecards where Varner came away with the split decision victory.
It has been reported that the WEC plans to strip Varner of his title shortly.
A previously announced bout between Cerrone and has bee promoted to a title fight to determine the new WEC lightweight champion.
The fight will be the main event at WEC 43 which is set for September 2 in Youngstown, Ohio.
UFC 100 will air live on UK TV
FANS of mixed martial arts in the UK have been boosted by the news UFC 100 will definitely air live on July 11.
Speculation has mounted that the event would be screened on Bravo on tape delay following Setanta's collapse last week.
But we can reveal the main card from the Mandalay Bay spectacular will be broadcast in its entirety as it happens.
We understand Virgin 1 is favourite to screen the extravaganza — which looks set to be the biggest event in MMA history.
A source told SunSport: "UFC 100 will definitely air live in the UK and we can guarantee fans it will not be on pay-per-view."
The showpiece sees Brock Lesnar clash with Frank Mir in a heavyweight title unification bout in the main event.
Welterweight star Georges St Pierre also puts his title on the line against rising Brazilian star Thiago Alves, while Britain's biggest MMA fighter Michael Bisping pits his wits against legendary American middleweight Dan Henderson.
In a further boost, our insider claimed SIX TV channels are battling it out for the rights to screen fight cards following Setanta's demise.
ESPN are said to have lodged a huge bid to become the new home of the UFC in the UK and are the frontrunners to seal a long-term contract with the promotion — probably starting with UFC 101 in August.
But they face a challenge from Five, who are keen on bringing MMA to a mainstream audience.
UFC 100: JIM MILLER, "I WANT TOUGH FIGHTS"
Jim Miller seemed to be on the fast track towards a title shot, since making his long anticipated debut in the big show at UFC 89, when he squared off against the highly touted David Baron. Baron just had come off the biggest win of his career, submitting prized Japanese fighter Hayato Sakurai in the first round.
After handing Baron his first loss in five fights with an impressive third-round rear naked choke (garnering Submission of the Night), he followed up the victory with another exciting performance with a unanimous decision win over Ultimate Fighter veteran Matt Wiman, who was on a four-fight win streak inside the Octagon.
BACK TO THE WALL, IT'S DO OR DIE FOR MAC DANZIG
Coming into season six of The Ultimate Fighter, Mac Danzig was believed to be one of the most well rounded and respected guys out of any season. An early favorite to win, he showed the versatility which would be essential for a fighter exiting TUF and transitioning into the big show that is the UFC.
Submitting runner-up Tommy Speer en route to a six-figure contract with the 800-pound gorilla organization would mark his fourth submission victory in a row, including his three exhibition bouts during his time in the house. His exhibition wins included Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Joe Scarolla via triangle choke and the always tough John Kolosci twice by rear naked choke, none making it out of the first round.
Despite rough road to victory, Affliction exec Tom Atencio eyes potential return to the cage
In the weeks leading to up to his Saturday night bout with Randy Hedderick at "Ultimate Chaos" in Biloxi, Miss., Affliction vice president Tom Atencio had said his second professional MMA contest would also be his last.
After being visibly rocked and dropped to the canvas early in the bout, Atencio probably wished he had stopped with just one.
But after battling back to earn a TKO win at the close of the second round, Atencio told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he hasn't ruled out another trip to the cage.