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Referee Mario Yamasaki taking online classes, eyes MMA return in 2021

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Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) referee Mario Yamasaki will be making his return to officiating in 2021, just as soon as he’s done brushing up on all the updated rules and regulations from California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

That’s according to his conversation with MMA Fighting.

“I’m waiting for the pandemic to be over so I can start applying to the athletic commissions again,” Yamasaki said. “I’ll go back to refereeing as soon as possible. Maybe not in the UFC, but Bellator, PFL, Shooto, other promotions, so I can be in the sport. It will be up to the athletic commissions to accept me back and license me and start giving me fights to referee.”

Yamasaki was last seen directing the Shevchenko-Cachoeira snuff film in Belem.

UFC President Dana White, no stranger to bashing licensed referees (like this guy), has been particularly vocal about his disdain for Yamasaki, even banning the longtime man in black from all future events.