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Why Does Dana White Want Judges to be Submitted?

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Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC President Dana White isn’t known to be shy of speaking his mind whether people agree with him or not. After the controversial championship bout at UFC 167 between Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks, White expressed outrage at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, even going as far as calling it the worst commission in the world.

Recently, White shared more of his disdain with the NSAC by saying that the judges should be put into submission holds before judging fights. Considering most of the judges could hardly be considered young, vibrant athletes, it’s safe to say this latest suggestion will probably be taken with a grain of salt.

But should it be?

The recent decision at UFC 167 only reminded professionals of the enormous discrepancy between the judge’s perception of the fight and that of the community at large. It’s well known that most MMA judges have spent more time officiating boxing matches than MMA fights, and even less of them have any training or experience with Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, or any other form of martial art. So maybe White’s suggestion isn’t such a bad idea after all; we do need more judges with experience in mixed martial arts.

It’s clear that the point White’s trying to drive home is that we need judges that are more knowledgable in all facets of the sport. As elegant and respected that boxing is, it’s still only one component of the many that are used in mixed martial arts. You don’t see wrestling referees judging MMA fights, so why are we seeing boxing officials doing it?

Here is an excerpt of what White said from BlackSportsOnline.com:

“One thing that I wanted everything to understand that night — because people don’t understand — I wanted to make it absolutely clear that we in no way, shape or form — have any input whatsoever on the judges or the referees. We don’t pick them, we have nothing to do with them, it’s the complete opposite. And, obviously, I was a little fired up on Saturday night. But, I wanted to make it absolutely clear to everybody out there watching that we have nothing to do with judges and/or refs … the athletic commission does, which is the government…. I don’t think you should be judging or reffing a fight unless you’ve actually rolled and know what a submission feels like. And how about knowing what a submission is, know what that is first? How about you know what a submission is, much less mixed marital arts.”

The NSAC has yet to announce any major changes to their requirements for judging MMA matches. Current NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer has actually defended the judges against White’s recent criticism, and denied that there is any sort of judging crisis in the sport.

Do you agree? Where do you think the problem lies?