Point deductions don't happen often in MMA, and depending on who you ask it's either a good thing or a bad thing (it's a bad thing). But it's surprising just how rare they really are. In the entire history of the UFC, only 20 fights have occurred in which a fighter had a point deducted and the fight went to a decision. Considering that the first point deduction was at UFC 33 in 2001, that's less than two per year.
The folks at MMADecisions.com put together this handy table to show us each and every point deduction, who was fighting, and most importantly, who was the referee.
|Point Deductions in UFC Decisions|
|9/28/2001||UFC 33||Tito Ortiz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko||2||1||Grabbing the Cage||John McCarthy|
|9/28/2001||UFC 33||Dave Menne vs. Gil Castillo||4||1||Illegal Knee to a Downed Opponent||John McCarthy|
|9/27/2002||UFC 39||Caol Uno vs. Din Thomas||1||1||Illegal Upkick to a Downed Opponent||Larry Landless|
|2/4/2006||UFC 57||Alessio Sakara vs. Elvis Sinosic||1||1||Illegal Downward Elbow||Steve Mazzagatti|
|4/5/2007||UFN 9||Drew Fickett vs. Keita Nakamura||2||1||Illegal Downward Elbow||Steve Mazzagatti|
|7/7/2007||UFC 73||Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz||2||1||Grabbing the Cage||John McCarthy|
|6/7/2008||UFC 85||Mike Swick vs. Marcus Davis||3||1||Grabbing the Cage||Mario Yamasaki|
|6/7/2008||UFC 85||Thales Leites vs. Nate Marquardt||2||1||Illegal Knee to a Downed Opponent||Herb Dean|
|6/7/2008||UFC 85||Thales Leites vs. Nate Marquardt||3||1||Elbowing to the Back of the Head||Herb Dean|
|7/11/2009||UFC 100||Dong Hyun Kim vs. T.J. Grant||2||1||Illegal Upkick to a Downed Opponent||Mario Yamasaki|
|11/21/2009||UFC 106||Caol Uno vs. Fabricio Camoes||2||1||Illegal Upkick to a Downed Opponent||Mario Yamasaki|
|1/11/2010||UFN 20||Thiago Tavares vs. Nik Lentz||3||1||Low Blow (Kick)||Mario Yamasaki|
|5/8/2010||UFC 113||Johny Hendricks vs. T.J. Grant||3||1||Low Blow (Kick)||Marc-Andre Cote|
|5/29/2010||UFC 114||Efrain Escudero vs. Dan Lauzon||3||1||Low Blow (Kick)||Josh Rosenthal|
|6/19/2010||TUF 11 Finale||Matt Hamill vs. Keith Jardine||2||1||Eye Poke||Herb Dean|
|10/16/2010||UFC 120||Travis Browne vs. Cheick Kongo||3||1||Grabbing Opponent's Shorts||Marc Goddard|
|12/4/2010||TUF 12 Finale||Stefan Bonnar vs. Igor Pokrajac||3||1||Punching to the Back of the Head||Steve Mazzagatti|
|11/12/2011||UFC on Fox 1||Aaron Rosa vs. Matt Lucas||2||1||Spitting Out Mouthpiece||John McCarthy|
|2/4/2012||UFC 143||Edwin Figueroa vs. Alex Caceres||2||2||Low Blow (Kick)||Herb Dean|
|6/1/2012||TUF 15 Finale||Daron Cruickshank vs. Chris Tickle||1||1||Illegal Upkick to a Downed Opponent||Steve Mazzagatti|
|12/15/2012||TUF 16 Finale||Tim Elliott vs. Jared Papazian||1||1||Illegal Knee to a Downed Opponent||Chris Tognoni|
The only really surprising thing here is that there appears to be no common culprits in the history of point deductions. Several fighters appear a couple times, but the referees we know and love all have multiple entries. Herb Dean, Steve Mazzagatti, and John McCarthy all have deducted points (in decisions) on four separate occasions over their UFC careers. Notably absent is Dan Mirgliotta, for whom I can find no record of ever issuing a point deduction in his long UFC career.
It's also interesting that 2010 appears to be an extreme outlier in point taking, with six deductions, and worth noting that there were zero points taken between 2003 and 2005. So the next time you see a point taken in a UFC fight, treasure it, because it's a rare experience.