Oct. 29, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC referee Steve Mazzagatti during a middleweight bout during UFC 137 at the Mandalay Bay event center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
UFC president Dana White is very fond of going after referees, and his favorite target has always been Steve Mazzagatti. Mazzagatti did an interview with Heavy, where they asked him about White's constant criticism and how he handles his job. He actually has some interesting stuff to say. He starts off with addressing Dana:
"[White] has criticized us and we get a lot of criticism for not standing them up - at least I do," Mazzagatti said in a telephone interview. "They say we let fighters lay on the ground too long and we're not doing anything. We don't make the rules. We enforce them. It's not our job to make sure the fight goes the way the promoter wants it to go. It's the fighter's job. It's their show.
"They've got to be the entertainer. I don't make the fight what everyone expects it to be. All we do is enforce the rules - period -- and make sure it's a clean and fair fight."
I don't make the rules. If you want to make a 15-second standup rule, then come up with a 15-second standup rule and I will stand them up in 15 seconds," Mazzagatti said. "I can only go with what's given to me. I don't judge fighters by who they are and what they're known for."
He's honest about one his biggest blunders, the infamous Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns fight where Johnson was awarded a TKO victory from an obvious eyepoke. And he wants to make it clear that no matter what Dana says, he doesn't work for him anyway:
"You gotta understand, I don't work for Dana and we [referees] don't work for Dana," Mazzagatti said. "I feel I'm a public servant for the fans and the fighters. I want to make sure the fighters have a good, clean, fair fight that they trained for and expect."
Mazzagatti will return to the cage at UFC 151.