"Poor Officiating" and Inexperienced Competitors

Steve Cofield makes the case that these two variables cast a shadow on the UFC's "Fight for the Troops" event:

I've been covering MMA heavily since 2002 and there's only been one broken limb. Tim Sylvia's arm was snapped by Frank Mir at UFC 48. Most fighters know when to tap in a dangerous situation or the official must protect the fighter from his own ego getting in the way of safety. You had a lethal mix on live television last night with an inexperienced fighter and a tentative official.

I hate to dump on a guy who just had his arm broken but why was Razak Al Hassan given a fight in the UFC? By the looks of it, he might not make the cut in a 32-man field to get on the The Ultimate Fighter. He shouldn't be in there with someone like Steve Cantwell and he definitely shouldn't have been fighting on the televised portion of the card. If Al Hassan is not smart or experienced enough to tap then referee Mario Yamasaki had to err on the side of caution. He's way too experienced to allow that to happen to a fighter.

Cofield also noted the number of unanswered knees that Brandon Wolff took in his loss to Ben Saunders before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.  Frankly, referees are tasked with an extremely difficult job.  They're forced to make vital judgments about a fighter's well-being with little time and incomplete information.  Often times, they're lambasted for ending a fight prematurely.  And when a competitor is injured, they're accused of allowing the fight to go on too long.  It's hard for me to condemn a referee unless his, or her, actions were clearly inappropriate.

Another important aspect of the overall equation is matchmaking.  Every effort should be made to pit fighters of similar experience and skill levels against one another.  Admittedly, this is far from an exact science.  However, it seems evident to me that Al-Hassan was too green to be placed in a main card match against the former WEC light heavyweight champion in Cantwell.  It's quite possible that the UFC overestimated Al-Hassan's abilities, or maybe, placement in the high profile event negatively affected his performance.  Whatever the case, the onus is on the UFC to closely evaluate the suitability of potential competitors so as to avoid unnecessary injuries and blowout matches.  One can't expect a young, up-and-coming fighter to turn down a shot at the UFC, because he doesn't feel ready for the challenge.

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