“Listen up you DUMMY!” Classic type of line we would hear from UFC president Dana White in times of aggression — usually when addressing a competitor. Following the dramatic guillotine choke of Jon Fitch by Josh Burkman this past Friday night at World Series Of Fighting 3, White had taken to Twitter to criticize his least favorite referee Steve Mazzagati.
“Glad Burkman stopped. Mazzagatti is a clueless idiot who will hurt someone and continue to ruin guys legacies. Much respect Josh.”
The comments are no surprise as White has been a polarizing president over the years, that has been both criticized and applauded for his brash comments and managing style.
A common misnomer in the sport is that the UFC handles regulations, such as referees at their events. This is very much not the case, as the man that the blame would fall on in an error is the head of the commission in the area the event takes place in. In the Burkman choke out situation, that would be Nevada State Athletic Commission’s head executive Keith Kizer.
Kizer has since went on the defense during MMAFighting’s MMAHour:
“It as neither a positive or a negative on the referee. All of us in the arena, and the commentators who know their stuff, were really shocked Jon (Fitch) was out. Steve was right there. He had to walk two steps. He walked two steps and waved off the fight. It was very easy for him, and every easy for Josh as well. It was a weird ending to the fight, but good for Josh. The guy went out and Josh immediately released the hold. What’s weird is he flipped Fitch over, away from the ref. When Josh had the hold, he (Mazzagatti) was one step away. He had a perfect view. Josh flipped him away from the ref, then stood up. I would praise the referee if he did a good job. But here, there’s nothing to talk about the ref. It wasn’t a good job or a bad job. He had no job. I think most people thought Jon was going to get out. Bas (Rutten) and I both thought he was letting go of the hold and transitioning to another hold. The story should be about Josh getting an amazing win, doing the right thing, and releasing the hold. This isn’t about the ref. Dana’s a good guy. 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.”
White and Kizer do work closely together on a very frequent basis. You may notice Kizer at weigh-ins and events, sitting front row, making sure everything is ‘regulated.’ As controversy again rears its ugly head, Kizer and Mazaggatti have come under fire from not only White but some of the media and fans as well.