Referee Dan Miragliotta was officiating the controversial UFC 210 bout between former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi.
For those who didn’t see the fight for themselves, the fight ended when Mousasi nailed Weidman with a pair of knee strikes to the head that were originally deemed illegal by Miragliotta. Moments after Weidman was being checked by doctors for the illegal knee strikes, instant replay showed that the strikes were legal, which was relayed to Miragliotta. Miragliotta then went to the doctors and Weidman to tell them that the fight must continue, but the doctors deemed Weidman unable to continue and that prompted the referee to award the fight to Mousasi via second round TKO.
Longtime UFC color commentator Joe Rogan has come to the defense of Miragliotta, who has come under fire by many after the controversial fight.
“Here’s two reasons why it’s hard for Miragliotta,” Rogan said on The Church Of What’s Happening Now. “First of all, he’s a giant. You have to understand, Dan Miragliotta is like, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds. He’s a huge man. He’s f**king huge. He towers over most of the fighters. So he’s above these guys, and if Mousasi is pinning down Weidman, so he’s got him in a headlock and he’s pulling him down and he’s kneeing him the face like he was, think of how tall Miragliotta is in the first place. Now think, he’s looking down at these guys kneeing each other in the head and he’s got to stay close by in case something happens. There’s no way he could see those hands from where he was standing. So he took an educated guess based on his many, many years of refereeing that both hands were down. And it was so close, you would have to be on the other side of the ring looking at the ground to know whether or not [the hands] were touching. If you’re above it the way Miragliotta was, how could he know? He really couldn’t know and it’s not his fault. He’s an excellent referee.”
Weidman has filed an appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission, but no ruling has been announced at this time.
So if the referee isn’t to blame, then who does Rogan feel is at fault for the whole situation?
“The fault is that the athletic commission, under situations like this, doesn’t use an instant replay and they should because it’s the fair thing to do to make sure that the fight is fair. I think Weidman could have gone on. Had there been a question about whether or not it was illegal, they could look at the instant replay and then they make the call. ‘The strikes are legal, we’re gonna continue.’ And you either continue them from the exact same position or you have a protocol in place, like you have to separate them, go back to their corners, and re-engage, which is bad for Mousasi because Mousasi had him in a good position and was landing strikes. It wasn’t Dan’s decision to stop the fight. It was the commission’s decision, I’m pretty sure and I think it’s because they didn’t know what else to do. They didn’t have a thing to do in place. It’s hard. It takes a while to figure out how to correctly referee and judge and officiate in a state athletic commission that hasn’t had mixed martial arts before and all of a sudden they have it. . . And then the commission, unfortunately, though the referees that were in place were really high level, there’s a commission that’s really not used to doing this. It’s not their fault, they just don’t have the experience,” says Rogan.
That wasn’t the only problem that the NYSAC caused that night, the commission was so bad that night that UFC President Dana White said it was like 2001 all over again.