If you recall, UFC president Dana White had nothing good to say about the Nevada State Athletic Commission following UFC 167. Following that November 16 fight card, White referred to the NSAC as "atrocious" and "incompetent" and said that he was "scared" to hold fights in that state before calling for Governor Brian Sandoval to step in to fix the NSAC.
Saturday's UFC on Fox 9 fight card, held in Sacramento, CA was the UFC's first stateside foray out of Nevada since White made those statements. It seems that his caustic comments caught the attention of the California State Athletic Commission.
After the fight card wrapped, and the post-fight press conference came to an end, White spoke to select media about the fight card. The UFC president said that prior to the event the head of the CSAC assured him that they would have the best officials working UFC on Fox 9.
The CSAC had three in-cage officials working the fight card. Those referees were Mike Beltran, Herb Dean, and John McCarthy. White had nothing but praise to offer the CSAC on their choice of referees and how they were utilized throughout the event:
I like how they had McCarthy and Dean going back-to-back on some fights. You know who the good referees are. You know who they are. Do it. Put the right guys in there. It makes sense. They're not working too much. They're in there moving around, and they're watching. These are the guys. These are the best guys.
One moment in particular stood out for White. That moment came during the Joe Lauzon versus Mac Danzig bout, the opening fight of the main card. The referee during that fight was McCarthy, a man that White acknowledged having his differences with in the past:
Lauzon headbutted, and he stopped the fight and said, ‘Watch your head.' Everybody in the arena knew there was a headbutt, and everybody watching on TV knew it was stopped, and there was a warning for a headbutt. That's what you do.
When you're the ref, you're in control, you're in charge.
White went on to say that there are far too many referees that don't do what McCarthy did at that moment. White feels too often referees don't take control of the Octagon, and they fail to make consistent and decisive decisions, and then let everyone know why those decisions were made.
In White's mind, that level of control and decisiveness is the difference between the best referees in the business and the also-rans:
John McCarthy has control of that Octagon. Herb Dean has control of that Octagon. Are they perfect? Are they going to make mistakes? Sometimes they are. But it's hard to argue that they're the best in there.
White had nothing negative to say about the CSAC or the officials it employed for UFC on Fox 9, a fact that gave him hope that things will improve in regard to officiating and judging in the sport of mixed martial arts:
I am actually very confident that things will change, I think things are going to get better.
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