These days, when I fly I don’t pay any mind to the attendants when they review the safety information for the flight. I’ve heard the spiel enough times that I could probably deliver it myself. That’s kind of what happens during UFC broadcasts when the lead commentator goes over the rules and regulations of a UFC fight card. I know this because I zoned out while rewatching a UFC event from Las Vegas for this story and missed the information I was specifically waiting to hear.
What I wanted to hear was this, “Instant replay can be used at any time during the fight.”
This wording is also in the Nevada rules for unarmed conduct. It reads:
The referee may, at any time during a contest or exhibition, call a time-out to consult with officials of the Commission or to view replay footage.
My interest in this wording was piqued during the UFC Vegas 10 fight card when Mike Rodriguez blasted Ed Herman with two knees to the body and Herman dropped to a crouch against the cage. Before Rodriguez could deliver what would have most likely been the finishing blows, referee Chris Tognoni called time. The call shocked Rodriguez. When he questioned the break, Tognoni replied, “nuts,” indicating a low blow.
Watching the replay, UFC commentator Michael Bisping, said he didn’t see the low blow and later wondered of Herman, “I want to know who his acting coach is.” Commentator Brendan Fitzgerald then said, “What I wonder sometimes though, if the referee can use replay at any point throughout the fight, why they wouldn’t choose to use it in this case? Those are the rules in Nevada.”
The fight restarted after Herman told Tognoni he was ready to compete.
During the one-minute break before the third stanza, Fitzgerald reported, “I just spoke to Marc Ratner, our vice-president of regulatory affairs here at the UFC and he told me that they couldn’t, in fact, have gone to the replay for the low blow. That is not the rule. They can’t go to the replay at any point during the fight, it would only be for a fight ending sequence.”
Ratner was wrong.
Herman won the fight with a submission in the third round.
After the event, UFC president Dana White vented his frustration.
“It’s hard not to bang on this guy. The worst I’ve ever seen,” White told the media. “That’s some (much maligned former referee, Steve) Mazzagatti-level sh-t right there. That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.
“That kid (Rodriguez) wins by knockout. Technical knockout and loses the fight. Just one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Disgusting.”
Then perhaps showing that he also did not understand the rule in Nevada, White added, “I was all over them tonight about replay. We have to have replay. There’s gotta be replay. All you gotta do is look at the f—ng replay that’s playing 6,000 times while Herman’s on the ground and say, ‘Oh sh-t, I made a mistake.’ You can’t see everything, they’re human.”
As a reminder, the rule states that instant replay could have been used in the Herman vs. Rodriguez — or any other — bout at UFC Vegas 10.
Now that everyone should be aware of the instant replay rule in Nevada, I hope referees use it when there are questionable moments during a fight where replay would come in handy and help the referee.
The question the NSAC needs to answer is what happens when an incorrect call is made by a referee? That seems to be unclear in the rules, which say:
At the conclusion of a contest or exhibition stopped immediately because of an injury to an unarmed combatant pursuant to NAC 467.718, a referee may view a replay, if available, in order to determine whether the injury in question was caused by a legal blow or a foul. If the determination is made that the injury was the result of:
(a) A legal blow, the injured unarmed combatant must be determined to have lost the contest via technical knockout.
(b) A foul, it must be determined whether the foul was intentional or accidental. If deemed:
(1) Intentional, the outcome of the contest must be determined in accord with NAC 467.698; or
There is no mention of referee error in the rules, only accidental or intentional fouls.
The rule for the upcoming fight cards in Abu Dhabi, according to the UFC 251 broadcast is that instant replay can only be used for a fight ending sequence.
The NSAC offered a “no comment” when asked about the situation that took place at UFC Vegas 10.