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Christophe Walravens vs. Bernardo Mikixi at EFC Africa 28 courtesy of mmamania.comMMA Fighter Dies at EFC Africa 28

When you fight in the ring, your life, literally, is in the hands of the referee. Being an MMA referee is a huge responsibility, and not one that should be taken lightly. It's for this reason that we at ELITE MMA Referees feel only experienced martial artists should be certified as MMA ref's, and those ref's should be properly trained!

Unfortunately, MMA Referee Wiekus Swart, did not seem to know that hitting to the back of an opponent's head, let alone using hammer fists,is considered ILLEGAL and a great, big NO-NO in MMA. So while Christophe Walravens was delivering hammer fist after hammer fist to his dazed and defenseless opponent, Bernardo Mikixi, Swart just stood and watched.  It was only when Mikixi finally managed to break away, turn over onto his back, wave away his opponent and verbally submit, that Swart called the fight. At one point, even Walravens turned to the ref in exasperation, as if to say "Well - are you going to stop this fight or what?"

Sadly - Bernardo Mikixi died from head trauma.

In one month, fights at EFC Africa ended in the deaths of two combatants; meaning they have single-handedly increased the number of MMA-related deaths worldwide by 100%. And not only did NOT acknowledge there was not a problem, but they thanked "all involved for an exceptional event", passed out performance bonuses to the fighters in the "epic bout" as they called it, and did not even mention the incident during the post-fight news conference.

Granted, if there is a Athletic Commission in Africa that is overseeing the training and Certification of officials, then they need to take a cold, hard look at their policies for approving referees. If, as it's done in many other countries, promotions hire their own ref's to officiate MMA fights, then EFC Africa needs to make some changes - and fast.  

Especially when one considers another one of their fighters died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring, just a couple of weeks before! According to Scott Harris, in his article on Bleacher Report: "On Thursday, EFC Africa chose to honor Booto Guylain by having its fighters wear those armbands. Guylain passed away March 5 because of injuries he suffered in the cage at EFC Africa 27, the event that directly preceded Thursday's EFC 28."

Jonathan Snowden, in his tweet to @SnideMMAsa, suggested: "First step has to be making sure that ref never steps in a cage again. Then huge emphasis on education and training for others."

We agree. And we'd love the opportunity to work with the African Athletic Commission, and help train their MMA Referees and Judges on the Rules, Regulations and background on legal and illegal techniques during an MMA fight. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it !

To read more of Harris' article, please go here: After Fighter Death and Horrendous Stoppage, EFC Africa Should Reexamine Itself.


UFC 169's Referee and Judging Assignments for top three fights


MMA Junkie.com is reporting that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) has assigned the following Referees and Judges to the top three fights at UFC 169:

Referee Herb Dean: Bantamweight title bout between champ Renan Barao (31-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and challenger Urijah Faber (30-6 MMA, 6-2 UFC). Cardo Urso, Eric Colon and retired UFC fighter Ricardo Almeida will serve as judges.

Referee Keith Peterson: Co-main event title bout between featherweight champ Jose Aldo (23-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and challenger Ricardo Lamas (13-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC). Urso, Eric Colon and Ricardo Almeida will also judge this fight.

Referee Dan Miragliotta: Featured main-card bout between UFC heavyweights Alistair Overeem (36-13 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Frank Mir (16-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC). Michelle Agustin, Tony Tamburrino and Dave Tirelli will serve as judges.

Please read the entire article here.


Female MMA Referee out of West Michigan

She's been doing it for two years now...ref'ing MMA fights that is! We love hearing about MMA referees getting in the limelight, and there's nothing better than hearing about another female MMA referee.


Jamie Lange is a massage therapist and certified mixed-martial arts referee. She works at Active Life chiropractic in Grand Rapids and has been officiating MMA fights for two years. She's a masseuse by day, but ref's MMA fights on the weekends "as a form of stress relief."


"When I say 'fight' it's me and them.  It's honest and I see everything."


Thank you to WZZM Photojournalist Aaron Russman, who produced this video profile of Lange.


What NOT to do as an MMA Referee!

This is not how to referee an MMA fight! Watch closely as the ref interferes with the fight, half-way stands up the fighter on the ground...and leaves his face exposed for the opponent to then pound into a win. Crazy!



John McCarthy Explains Travis Browne-Gabriel Gonzaga Ending to KFlo

According to Dana Becker, "Veteran MMA referee John McCarthy was asked by Kenny Florian his thoughts on the conclusion to this past Saturday's Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga bout. Browne was awarded the victory, but Gonzaga is planning an appeal. While Gonzaga appeared to have Browne tied up in the clinch against the fence, he allowed "Hapa" an opening. Browne reigned down with several big elbows, though some appeared to be illegally struck to the back of the head."

To read McCarthy's answer, please read the article here: Fightline.

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