"I could go off for 45 minutes on officiating over [in Nevada]. Steve Mazzagatti is the ref reffing the Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar superfight. What more can I do? Mazzagatti is reffing the superfight. What more needs to be said than that?... I can't do anything. As a promoter, I can't do anything. The fighters can. The fighters can say, ‘Oh my God.' They can say, ‘I don't want him,' and they gotta go in and give good cause on why they don't want him....I can tell you this, if I was a fighter, the last thing I would want to see when I got in the cage is Mazzagatti. That's the last thing I would want to see."
-- Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White pretended to blow his brains out with an imaginary finger gun when he described (via 5thRound.com) his thoughts on much maligned mixed martial arts (MMA) referee Steve Mazzagatti getting the nod from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to officiate the upcoming UFC 156 "super" main event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas this Saturday night (Feb. 2, 2013). It's a high-profile, five-round bout between reigning Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, and former 155-pound kingpin, Frankie Edgar, which could very well have its share of dramatic moments, pitches, swings and surges from both corners. The third man inside the Octagon will need to be on point, able to make the correct calls confidently, unwilling to stop the fight too soon and vice-versa. Mazzagatti, historically, can't seemingly find that critical balance. It seemingly all began back in 2004 when he allowed Yves Edwards to nearly kill Josh Thomson after he landed a highlight-reel head kick at UFC 49, continued when he halted the ground-and-pound assault of Brock Lesnar on Frank Mir in their first fight (he deducted a point, Lesnar lost moments later) at UFC 81, cropped up again in the UFC 125 fight between Brandon Vera and Thiago Silva when he just let them nap on the mat for an eternity, and then reared his ugly head in the recent Jake Ellenberger vs. Martin Kampmann fight at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 Finale. I'm sure I missed more than a few Mazzagatti lowlights, but it's just a small sample to support White's claim that the mustached man in black is "the worst referee in the history of fucking fights!" Hopefully, Mazzagatti has watched film on Edgar (this quote would unfortunately suggest otherwise) and is aware that "The Answer" can take a lickin' and keep on tickin.' Had his fights with Gray Maynard been stopped early, and there is certainly an argument that both could have been (it's a judgement call, remember), fight fans, as well as the Toms River, N.J., native, would have been robbed of truly epic performances. Fingers crossed.