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Referee Marc Goddard shuts down critics incensed by Woodly vs Usman officiating

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Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) referee, Marc Goddard, faced an inordinate amount of online backlash for his officiating in the Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman title fight, held in the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In a recent tweet from Luke Thomas, the host of The MMA Hour asked fans for some early thoughts on UFC 235, including the Woodley vs. Usman fight. A fan who goes by the handle “Canadian Bowler” posed this question:

What do you guys think of Marc Goddard and his constant standing up of Woodley/Usman and Dean’s allowing Jones/Smith to grind it out?

The idea is that Herb Dean was not interfering in the Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith title fight, whereas Goddard kept sticking his nose where it didn't belong. And not that we should be treating fan voices as gospel, but consider this reply by UFC color commentator, Jon Anik.

Yes! Wildly inconsistent. And Usman was working his ass off.

Goddard and Anik got into a little spat after that comment, but quickly squashed their beef and went their separate ways. Unfortunately the noise hasn’t died down, so Goddard went on Twitter to state his case (transcribed by

1. It was a full 25 minute 5×5 fight. There was ONE single solitary stand up the whole entire fight. That came in the 4th round.

2. I don’t know where or how came the notion “multiple stand ups”

3. There was a total of 3 separations the ENTIRE fight.

4. My use of the words “it’s a fight”! have been totally misconstrued. I only spoke in answer to Kamaru who asked why?

5. My use of the words “it’s a fight” was NOT the correct wording to use at that point. It was the wrong choice! I should have used different wording, no question. I have nothing but respect for Kamaru and his entire performance.

6. My actions & words have been misconstrued & for that I can explain in full. Kamaru Usman fought an unbelievable fight & if my words “it’s a fight”’caused him of all people offence on the back of such an amazing performance then I’m truly sorry. My words at that time were wrong

7. I have received an unbelievable amount of messages, literally hundreds. Questions and disagreements I can ALWAYS deal with that, goes with the job, but the vile abuse not so much. This happens to my wife & son too.

8. Hopefully when I speak it can go some way to offering up an explanation as to why I do what I do, and when.

9. Commiserations to Tyron and respect to Kamaru.

In closing I will continue to give my all to this sport. A referee makes decisions, not always popular, not always correct but please know I have devoted 20 years to MMA & ALL of its facets. I’m far from perfect, I’m just like everyone else. Thanks.

You can watch the entire thing unfold on Goddard’s Twitter account here.

Usman dominated Woodley from bell-to-bell (highlights) to capture the 170-pound crown and set up a future fight against ex-interim welterweight champion, Colby Covington. Whether you think Goddard did a good job or not, his performance certainly did not benefit Woodley in any way, shape, or form.

For much more on UFC 235 click here.