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Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

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Fuel TV removes UFC Tonight video segment trashing referee Steve Mazzagatti

By Zach Arnold | June 20, 2013

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“Steve Mazzagatti: A danger to all fighters?”

That was the blaring headline from a two-minute segment on the UFC Tonight show that aired on Tuesday on Fuel TV. It was Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian talking about Steve Mazzagatti as a referee in reference to his performance during the Josh Burkman/Jon Fitch fight last week in Vegas. Burkman choked out Fitch and let go of the choke so that Mazzagatti would then stop the fight.

Dana White went nuts about Mazzagatti while he was in Winnipeg and it led to Keith Kizer going after Dana in the press after Dana said that Kizer would promote Mazzagatti to the Anderson Silva/Chris Weidman fight in order to spite everyone.

Quotes from a recent Dave Meltzer article:

Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the commission said that he’s surprised this was a story, saying in this instance, he didn’t even see it as a referee judgment call, good or bad.

Kizer compared the sudden choke out to a one punch knockout in boxing where the fighter lands the punch, knocks the guy out, the opponent stops on his own volition, and the ref sees the damage and waves it off.

“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.”

During the UFC Tonight segment, Florian just dumped all over Mazzagatti. It was a burial. Unlike most sports programs where referees are criticized for their poor performance, the UFC Tonight segment basically made Mazzagatti out to be a threat to the health & safety of fighters who step into the cage with him. It came across as a really personal attack that was ordered by UFC management. In many ways, it reminded me of Vince McMahon. McMahon has had some legendary grudges over the years and has used his television platforms to live out his revenge. His two most famous cases involved two controversial figures, sports owner giant Stan Kroenke and famous conservative watchdog Brent Bozell. Kroenke was involved in a booking mishap of the Pepsi Center in 2009 regarding the Denver Nuggets and a playoff basketball game. The playoff game pushed WWE’s booking out of the venue and so McMahon ended up running the Staples Center in Los Angeles to spite the Denver faithful. He went so far as to use the Lakers famous announcer, Lawrence Tanter, to work the RAW show in which McMahon beat up a fake Stan Kroenke and had a multi-man tag match where the heels wore Denver Nuggets jerseys while the babyfaces wore Laker jerseys.

McMahon had a famous feud with Brent Bozell of the Parents Television Council in 2000 and created an obnoxious heel group called Right to Censor in protest.

Dana and Lorenzo’s crusade against Steve Mazzagatti is now being carried out on their media platforms. Their behavior is starting to resemble that of when McMahon holds a grudge against someone. It can go over the top. Tito, anyone?

Apparently, someone at Fox Sports watched what was going on and wanted to make the UFC Tonight segment on Mazzagatti disappear as fast as Lloyd Irvin wishes his $1 million USD lien from Uncle Sam would vanish.

The video is not on MSN and it may (or may not) be on the Fuel TV site.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 22 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

22 Responses to “Fuel TV removes UFC Tonight video segment trashing referee Steve Mazzagatti”

  1. Alan Conceicao says:

    I would be offended, but Steve Mazzagatti has criticized for years for letting fights go on too long by people outside the UFC. Hell, I don’t know how many times I’ve said “Mazzagatti’s gonna get someone killed one day”.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Mazzagatti is a really bad ref. Even Ray Sefo said he didn’t think Steve was doing his job properly for the main event.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Isn’t his nickname “Finish Him” in homage to the Mortal Kombat video game where the person finishes their opponent with a “fatality”? Or is that Yamasaki?

  3. Jason Harris says:

    “UFC execs have a problem with someone. This is just like when WWE had a problem with someone, right everyone?”

    No, that’s a huge stretch to somehow tie this to pro wrestling when it’s not at all relevant.

    The MMA community as a whole has had a problem with this referee for a long time. This isn’t some personal grudge that UFC is pushing.

    Here’s a Sherdog thread from 2009 about his bad calls:

    Since you are treating this whole thing like some unjustified grudge that UFC has against Mazzagatti, do you want to give us a breakdown of why the popular opinion of everyone is wrong and Mazzagatti deserves to be calling these fights?

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      lol, seriously. I would love to hear a description of why he’s a good ref. I remember reading an interview with him 5-6 years ago where he basically said he preferred to stand fighters up whenever possible because he thought that was more entertaining and he felt fighters were appreciative that he was later to stop bouts than everyone else because then they could give “more effort” or something to that extent.

      • RST says:

        ” I remember reading an interview with him 5-6 years ago where he basically said he preferred to stand fighters up whenever possible because he thought that was more entertaining and he felt fighters were appreciative that he was later to stop bouts “

        Is that a lie?

        • Alan Conceicao says:

          No. Not a lie. It would probably take me a couple hours to google now that “Mazzagatti interview” has about 500,000 hits from MMA websites re: Dana White not liking him.

    • edub says:

      Agreed with both of you guys.

      Mazzagati has been terrible forever. Although IMO his policy on being later is a decent one that’s just unpopular. However, I’ve seen him stop fights that were too early so I don’t know how much he follows that.

      • RST says:

        I also kind of agree with being later. And sure. (It can go to far…)

        When you got in this business, you understood and accepted taking a beating right? unless you’re maywhether and you hire your own opponents. Like kanye. Unless you have the privilege, of only fighting people who “deserve” a shot. Jones deserves that way more then maynot does.

  4. Manapua says:

    Dana’s issues with Mazzagatti seem like a personal witch hunt for him. He did nothing wrong in the Fitch fight and no one walked away injured. Dana made a mountain out of a molehill and the sheep lined up in support.

  5. king famous says:

    It must be awesome to have your own TV show.

  6. RST says:

    the deal with Burkman is that he had a bad stretch of performance. But he was under preforming. There are a few dudes who just dont stretch under danajoel. But I think even more then danajoel, burkman made a wrong turn aligning himself with dingdong.

    I also ascribe the lesser then talent achievements of Ricco and jackson to the same malfunction. Although honestly in Ricco and jacksons case, it can be just as attributed to nuttballness. IE: the nuttballness is just as responsible for hanging out with dingdong! My point being, that Burkman was always better then his ufc record showed.

  7. Safari_Punch says:

    In reference to the fight where Fitch was choked out, there was virtually no chance of him suffering any sort of permanent damage or death. The choke that was on Fitch was a blood choke, that cut off the arteries to the brain and he blacked out. If the choke were on his wind pipe, he would have tapped out from the pain.

    There’s an interesting article on Judo Info about chokes and how dangerous they are in competition: . If don’t want to read it, basically no one has ever died from a blood choke in competition Judo. The choke was not held that long after Fitch lost consciousness. so like the one poster said, this is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I realize the issue is with Mazzeaatti being out of position and safety of the fighters. What if the technique being used was an armlock or some other technique that could potentially maim a fighter? If the ref stopped the action before the fighters arm broke, a contingent would be moaning that the fighter didn’t tap. If the fighters refused to tap and the arm broke the ref is considered a liability and incompetent. Referees are put in a position to make a judgement call in a blink of an eye and even then, people of people who have neither trained nor refereed feel they’re the expert. Even Dana White who has made millions for himself off of this sport doesn’t even know the name of the choke Fitch was in.

    At the end of the day, if you want to be safe, the best way to be safe is not to fight. Period.

  8. Zheroen says:

    MMA officiating as a whole is wildly-inconsistent. Mazzagatti sucks, but when Herb Dean is lauded as the best referee in the business (, the standards are pretty low to begin with. Dean either stops fights far too quickly (Fedor/Henderson, Shamrock/Ortiz II), or in others, doesn’t even stop the fighters after the bell has clearly rang:

    • Megatherium says:

      Kim Winslow is by far the worst referee in the mma business; Steve Mazzagatti doesn’t approach Kim’s degree of ineptitude in the ring yet all we ever hear is Mazzagatti this, Mazzagatti that from Dana White. This anti-Mazz vendetta of Dana’s seems obviously to stem from Dana’s residual hard feelings about Mazz’s (admittedly awful) Lesnar vs Mir bungle. Dana sounds like a baby the way he carries on and on about this mediocre mma referee. Give it a rest Dana, will ya. Jeezus.

  9. Mike says:

    Mazzagatti has always been trash and dangerous to fighters. I hate people who say “if you want to stay safe don’t fight”. That is a crap argument and that is someone who has never set foot in a cage before. Keyboard warrior talk at its finest.

    • Safari_Punch says:

      How is it being a keyboard warrior when you’re saying not to fight?

      Thanks for the comic relief.

  10. Mr. Incognito says:

    I am not certain, but maybe this was the interview that was referred to above by Alan Conceicao with Mazzagatti.
    In the interview, Mazzagatti mentions that “My background is striking so I love standing them up”.

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Yup. That’s it. The quote about his stoppages:

      “These guys train so hard and for so long for just a few minutes of fighting you gotta be sure that you don’t stop it too early. You gotta give these guys a chance.”

  11. Steve4192 says:

    Is Zach on vacation?

    It’s been 10 days since the site has been updated.

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