As a follow up to a September 2010 interview regarding the UFC's trial of cage-side monitors for MMA judges, I contacted Marc Ratner, the UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs, for a status update.
The original report revealed the genesis of the UFC's cooperation with prominent state athletic commissions, beginning with Executive Officer George Dodd of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), to install video monitors for each of the three judges to improve visibility. At the time of the previous interview, the UFC had supplied monitors for three events in California: UFC Live on Versus 2, UFC 117 and UFC 121.
One year later, Marc Ratner confirms that monitors have become standard for most UFC events on American soil.
"We're using the monitors pretty much wherever the UFC goes domestically," Ratner told BloodyElbow.com. "Haven't heard from any Commission that we can't use them. We used them in Texas, Colorado, D.C., California and Nevada [with] no problems at all. Have had no negative feedback from judges."
George Dodd of the CSAC, who worked with Ratner to lead the charge for the test run with monitors, also lent his thoughts on utilizing technology to improve MMA judging.
"This is just another tool to allow the judges to have a better way to analyze a fight more effectively," Dodd said. "It allows everyone to see better angles with no obstructions. Comparing the visibility of a cage versus a ring, you have 6 posts to look through. We now get a better angle than before with no visual obstructions."
Dodd confirmed that monitors would be in place for the two upcoming UFC events in California -- the UFC's debut on the Fox network in Anaheim and UFC 139: Shogun vs. Hendo in San Jose -- as well as the Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal show from San Diego in December.
As of now, the technology is only a mainstay for stateside UFC events. "Out of the country," Ratner explained, "we need a little more time on."
In California, Dodd commented on the challenge of using monitors for some of the smaller shows. "I think it would be impossible because it's such a burden on promoters. If we can do it for all of MMA, I'd like to do it, but we don't have that availability for smaller promotions."