The big narrative coming out of UFC 96 was that MMA reffing is in the toilet and something has to be done before it ruins the sport. Ben Fowlkes takes the attitude that the sky isn’t falling, bad reffing will always be an issue and we might as well get used to it:
The real problem, as “Big” John McCarthy pointed out, is time. An MMA referee often doesn’t have it on his side. A fighter gets hit, goes down, and his opponent is on top of him immediately. It’s a referee’s job to determine whether the fighter is momentarily stunned, perhaps hurt, or already on his way into unconsciousness. And the official has to make this decision in a hurry, because the other fighter is already cocking his fist back to deliver another blow.
There’s no knockdown rule to give the ref a chance to assess the situation, so he has to make a split-second decision. And sometimes it’s going to be the wrong decision. That’s part of the sport, and it always will be. Unless we want sweeping rules changes to make MMA more like boxing (and we don’t), this is something we’re going to have to live with.
The only thing I want added is accountability. If a ref fucks up a fight, the commission should hold them responsible instead of closing rank and saying “We support all the stupid calls our officials make.” I’m not asking that a dude gets fired after a mistake or two is made. But a good start would be at least admitting when an error is made. That way, lessons get learnt and refs might *gasp* actually get better. Or if they suck hard anus, then maybe they’d actually get fired after a while. Just a thought.