I posted up Josh Burkman’s rousing finish of Jon Fitch from WSOF3 this Saturday as the feel good finish of the day, but Dana White saw it as something more sinister: a potentially deadly fuck up by Steve Mazzagatti, par for the course when it came to that referee and by extension the Nevada commission that continues to employ him. Watch above as he spends 10 minutes of the 30 minute post-fight media scrum talking shit about them.
“It’s not corrupt when you talk about the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” White said. “It’s complete and total ego. Because I keep complaining, they’ll keep putting him (Mazzagatti) front and center. It’s disgusting. At what point do you realize this guy an incompetent fool. I wonder what’s going to happen if somebody gets seriously hurt in a Mazzagatti fight. They’ll say, `Anything can happen, it’s a combat sport.’ This guy is dangerous.”
And because the MMA media is very much a schoolyard where gossip travels from one side to another in the blink of an eye, we already have Keith Kizer’s response to Dana’s rant:
Kizer said he’s only talked to White a few times about Mazzagatti. “He’s usually praising him, including on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, he said to me that Steve’s doing a great job and I told him I’ll let Steve know,” said Kizer. “That was the last time I talked to Dana about Steve.”
“Dana’s a good guy,” said Kizer. “Very few people care about other people as much as Dana. But you’ve heard what he’s said about former fighters, former employees, even fighters in his organization. Even Jon Jones. He likes to put people down, whether rightly or wrongly. It’s an ego thing. We all have egos. I think it’s wrong when people lie and you can make your own conclusions on Dana.”
Oh man is that praise bit gonna cheese Dana’s goat. As for egos, yes Kizer is correct. They both have huge egos that often block them from being able to see shortcomings in the way they do things. After all, who needs someone else’s opinion when yours is always right? For Kizer this ego manifests itself in his inability to view NSAC judges or refs as anything but infallible.
Personally, I don’t see Steve Mazzagatti as a particularly bad referee. He fucks up about as much as Dan Miragliotta, Kate Winslow, Yves Lavigne, or Mario Yamasaki. The problem is when he does fuck up, nothing comes of it. The NSAC has a long and illustrious history of refusing to admit the mistakes of its officials, and also seem strangely resistant to change. And that to me is a bigger problem than a bad official, because without corrective oversight those officials just continue to bad all over our MMA.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports