UFC Tampa was a night of spectacular fights and finishes. However, some left a bitter taste in the mouths of fighters around the world. I'm going to be talking specifically about Mike Davis vs Thomas Gifford, as well as Luis Pena vs Matt Frevola. These are only two examples of why we need more qualified judges and referees in combat sports. We aren't playing Pattie-cake out there. For uneducated, biased, or just plain scared people to be deciding life or death situations is just insanity. It's their job to protect fighters, not to make sure the audience sees a career cut short.
Andrew Glenn has been a career referee since 2014. He has overseen 130+ bouts... of BOXING - Not world class MMA! A fucking local boxing ref. All in the state of Florida. For some reason Referee Andrew Glenn allowed 27 year old Thomas Gifford to take well over 100 significant shots to the head, body and legs. 80 alone were to the head.
Gifford's own father was in his corner, which to me is even worse. After clearly being out-struck for 3 whole rounds Thomas was finally knocked out cold, face first on the canvas with 15 seconds left in the fight.
To hear former world champion Michael Bisping, who is employed by the UFC, be so vocal about his disgust just made us see how bad it was. We all watched a very young man lose a part of himself in there, and all for what? A ten thousand dollar check? Linked below is Andrew Glenn's BoxRec page.
On the other side of bad calls made last night, was the decision in Luis Pena vs Matt Frevola. I'm having an almost impossible time of finding the judges names, but they too I am guessing, are local Floridian boxing judges with little to no experience in MMA. Fostered by the fact that Matt Frevola is from Tampa, he was clearly out-struck and hurt several times. Where as his biggest moments were a few slam takedowns that Pena was easily able to attack submissions and stand right back up from. Any skilled fighter knew who won this fight, and it's a shame hometown bias stole such a great win from Violent Bob (Pena)
I'm not just here to complain. I have a fairly simple solution to these problems. We kill two birds with one stone. Major promotions need to set up a system within local commissions wherever a fight may be held. Weeks before a match they can hire FULLY VETTED FIGHTERS to judge and ref the event. This will give for more accountability and have a higher degree of good calls based on experience alone. Imagine if Brian Ortega judged Cub vs Kron, and gave Kron the nod? We would light his ass up on social media for weeks. Instead we are left with some faceless, no names to blame. Obviously there is a mix of promotional and locally based workers already, but God help you if Adelaide Bird is on your desk. If you're not at least a blue belt in BJJ, why the fuck are you making MMA calls? I myself have been subject to biased decisions. It's heartbreaking and the only reason these folks make such weird calls I believe is because most of them have never had a fight. Imagine doing that in any other dangerous career setting. We would never allow a chiropractor to perform a surgery. So why do we allow it with something as important as our fighter's health? These people are supposed to watch you, protect you, and judge you without real experience. This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I'm just a cage fighter. Not a bureaucrat.