Referees in MMA have a responsibility to protect fighters. In a sport such as MMA fighters are already putting their health and life at risk. That is why referees must enforce the rules of the sport. Otherwise, athletes get seriously injured and could potentially suffer severe brain injuries.

There are multiple examples of late fight stoppages or referees not enforcing the rules of the sport. Recently, at UFC Fight Night 125, Mario Yamasaki, a seasoned referee in the UFC was guilty of not stopping the main event of the night sooner.

Another example of a horrible job by a referee was on Saturday, Feb. 24 at UFC Fight Night on FOX. Referee Dan Miragliotta failed to stop the main event after one of the athletes, Jeremy Stephens, clearly delivered an illegal knee to the head of his opponent Josh Emmett.

UFC Fight Night 125

Shevchenko outclassed Cachoeira from the beginning of the fight. She was able to put the pressure on her opponent, take her down and punish Cachoeira with elbows and punches.

This was a trend that viewers watched for all three rounds. Cachoeira kept fighting but was clearly taking too much damage. The fight went the distance but should have been stopped much sooner.

Yamasaki gave a statement after the fight for his decision not to stop the fight:

“In the second round, I signaled to ‘Pedrita’ that if she didn’t move I’d stop the bout.” Yamasaki told MMAjunkie “Every time I went to stop it, I signaled it to her, and she moved in an attempt to escape the blows. Unfortunately, I also can’t control the number of strikes that are thrown. Again, while she’s looking for a turnaround, she’s in the game. Fighters go through periods of great effort and dedication in order to be there. MMA is a contact sport, and no fighter likes to have the fight interrupted without a chance to reverse the outcome.

“The way I see it, I allowed ‘Pedrita’ to be a warrior and keep fighting. I could have stopped the fight in the second crucifix or in the mount, but she was moving at all times. I also recognize I should have stopped it on the first tap of the rear-naked choke, and I only stopped a few seconds later. As for other people’s opinions, they (again) have their right to issue them.”

A fighter is not in a position to make a clear judgment while getting their brain smashed. Fighters are warriors and their body will break before their spirit does. Yamasaki’s job is to make that call in order to protect the well being of Cachoeira. During the fight, Shevchenko landed 230 strikes compared to her opponent’s 3.

UFC Fight Night on Fox

At this event, Dan Miragliotta did not stop the fight after Stephens kneed Emmett to the head illegally. Stephen’s knee grazed Emmett’s temple while Emmett was still down.  Clearly, the rule states that no knees will be allowed to a downed opponent. That was not the only controversial point of the fight.

Stephens put Emmett down with a left hook. Following a barrage of elbows, Emmett got to his knees. Stephens then delivered the illegal knee. At that point, the fight should have been stopped due to an illegal knee, but instead, Emmett absorbed more punishment.

His head hit the canvas and Jeremy swarmed Emmett again with elbows that most likely caused even more damage. Jeremy Stephens won the fight.