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Commission president defends ‘highly qualified’ judges, tells MMA commentators to ‘do their research’

Association of Boxing Commissions president Mike Mazzulli issues a response to judging criticisms.

UFC 274: Brown v Williams Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

In light of the recently debated fight outcomes over the weekend alone, the conversations about MMA judging and its supposed flaws have intensified. Former fighters, and quite expectedly, the coaches involved, have voiced their displeasure towards this current trend of questionable decisions.

Over the years, MMA judges have been taking a beating from critics who usually don’t hold back. But recently the president of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) Mike Mazzulli spoke to MMA Junkie to issue a response. MMA officials are also part of the ABC umbrella.

“There are basketball and football coaches that have never played a snap or a game of basketball and they’re elite coaches. But when it comes to judging and refereeing MMA, the people we use are highly qualified,” he said.

Mazzulli then enumerated the combat sports and martial arts backgrounds of the officials who usually oversee MMA events.

“A fine example is Sal D’Amato. He’s a black belt in karate. Derek Cleary is a black belt in karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Eric Colon owns his own jiu-jitsu gym. Dave Tirelli owns Tiger Schulmann’s gym. Dave Peabody, a local judge (here) is a black belt in karate.

“Dan Miragliotta was a promoter and a Muay Thai fighter. Bryan Miner (was a kickboxer). In the future, I hope before commentators speak, they do their research.”

Mazzulli also extended an invite to all critics to the ABC’s commission convention this summer.

“The ABC meeting is in Niagara Falls. As the president of the ABC, I’m inviting any fighter or commentator to attend for free and learn how to judge. The criteria are right on the ABC boxing website. It’s right there, so don’t tell me you can’t find it. It’s not a secret.”

Last weekend’s UFC Vegas 55 event alone was riddled with judging controversies, including the headliner between Ketlen Vieira and former champion Holly Holm. The latter ended up with the split decision win, a decision that many felt should’ve gone the other way.