Alongside Steve Mazzagati, Mario Yamasaki garnered a reputation over the years as one of MMA’s most regularly criticized referees. Most notably in his long stint as one of the go-to officials for UFC fights. Dana White in particular hasn’t been shy about his dislike for Yasamaski, and some of the referee’s more questionable calls.
It’s been years since the UFC stopped using Yamasaki in their bouts, but the referee has only now decided to step forward and issue his response. Looking back on his career, the 58-year-old says his career wasn’t nearly so bad as some made it out to be.
“Let’s say I referee 800 fights, and I f–d up in four,” he said recently on Talkin’ MMA (quotes via MMA News). “The only thing that shows in my history are the four f–d up fights that I did, because those are the ones they keep pushing, pushing, pushing.”
The native of Sao Paulo, Brazil feels fighters, fans, and pundits focused too much on his mistakes and forgot about the many quality calls he made.
“What Dana said about me, ‘Oh, he’ll never step foot in the Octagon again, blah, blah, blah,’ those are the things that show most, not my 796 fights that I did right. They don’t care. They only care what you did wrong.
“I think Dana was a little too harsh on me because I’m not that bad. 20 years there and he always came to me, we’d talk a lot, and for him to just be a media guy, and destroy a guy… That wasn’t that bad.”
In 2021, Yamasaki spoke about retiring after more than two decades as a referee, to focus more on his construction company.