So What’s This Ultimate Fighter Controversy? Would You Believe It’s About Reffing? (TUF Video)

May 22, 2014
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(Video courtesy of The Ultimate Fighter)

By now, even if you didn’t see it on Wednesday night’s The Ultimate Fighter, you’ve at least heard about the controversy that erupted during Episode 6.

Not surprisingly, it’s at least partially about a call referee Steve Mazzagatti made during the episode’s fight.

Check it out and weigh the controversy for yourself.


  • archaictext

    This was ridiculous. Who cares what Dana says. Normally I agree with him, but he was wrong on this. Steve warned Zapata a bunch of times about the elbow. He pulled him aside between rounds and talked to him about it. Is there actually some rule that says he has to stop the fight and say “1 more and I’ll take a point away”? He warned him enough, and Zapata (along with every other fighter) knows the consequences of that. In my opinion they don’t enforce the rules enough. He also warned him about grabbing the cage 4 times in that fight; 3 of which he really bettered his position with. They need to take points away for that s–t more. I’m sick of seeing that. How many times are you going to warn someone about the same s–t? As far as the judges decision…just ridiculous.

  • manadon23 .

    There shouldn’t be any controversy, he did warn him. They should be lucky he didn’t call the fight.

  • Nothing wrong, I agree with that

  • Seth

    He screamed 2 or 3 times “Watch you angles”…what’s wrong with that? Maz is a stupid tool most of the time, but he got that one right… .-.

  • Rob

    Dana doesn’t care about his fighters at all…as long as ur knocking people out he’s all about u. He doesn’t care about the safety and health of his fighters he’s a joke

    • Seth

      Why you think so? Zapata won this fight. I like guys like Fitch or Askren, but Edgar’s kid was really a blanket, doing nothing. And hes not even good at doing nothing, barely could keep Zapata down.

    • deepgrim

      not one bit does dana care, he wants to see people battering each other for the enertainment value, which is fine with me if he doesnt say all this crap after about wanting people to retire cause he doesnt want there health to suffer (when he means there not worth there money anymore) and doesnt want to look bad by firing a legend

  • Jeremy Lee

    I guess yelling warnings like “watch the angles” or “quit grabbing the cage” at Zapata on several different occasions during two separate rounds doesn’t count as a warning. At this level shouldn’t Zapata be fully aware of the rules of the game? A. He shouldn’t have to be told at all to not grab the cage. He should and does know better at this stage of the game. B. He knows damn well that those 12 to 6 elbows are illegal yet he threw them anyways, despite numerous warnings.
    The other dude was lackluster and disappointing but he still won the fight based on the rules of the fight. Zapata is a dirty fighter and should have never accepted that win.

    This is not Mazagattis bad, this is the bad of the judges and mostly the bad of Zapata.

  • I’m a licensed MMA ref with 5 years of experience as a ref, 15 years of cornering experience, and 8 years of training in MMA at Jackson’s in Albuquerque. It has been well established that Dana does not like Steve. While I agree that Steve has made some unfortunate calls in the past, this is simply not one of them. His constant interventions with Zapata do indeed count as warnings. At this (the highest) level of the sport, the athletes not only know the rules, but they are reminded of them in the rules meeting which precedes every sanctioned event. Most ref’s do what I do and actually demonstrate what is and is not allowed in addition to just saying it verbally. Zapata grabbed the fence and threw some illegal blows during the fight. If there was a problem in this fight, it was the judging.

    • Your_Dad

      I’m a licensed MMA ref with 26 years of experience as a ref, 43 years of cornering experience, and 22 years of training in MMA at various prestigious MMA gyms. It has been well established that I am awesome. I agree that Mazzagatti has sucked in the past and again, sucked in this fight, as well. Giving a fighter warnings for strikes you think aren’t illegal, but are close, then taking a point for another strike that isn’t illegal is piss poor reffing.

    • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

      Im a licensed ref with 58 years of experience and Dana is retarded. The only problem with those elbows was hitting the back of the head, the “angles” WTF, are we as refs supposed to get out a protractor in the middle of the fight? Come on now

    • Usmc8408

      I’m a licensed MMA ref with 134 years experience. Beat that!

  • Lt. Dangle

    Mazzagatti did warn him many times, but I don’t see where he connected with any downwards elbows after the warnings, so i don’t think a point should be taken. But, Dana has always hated Steve so its not surprising that they made a big deal about it.

  • Watching it on replay I didn’t think the actual elbow which resulted in the point deduction was illegal and it is kind of a mute point. Zapata was cheating so many different ways with no penalty, I was glad to see him lose a point anyway. One thing I do know from being in there is that it is easier to judge something on replay video than it is to do it live and in the moment. Zapata had thrown so many illegal elbows that Steve’s judgement may have been skewed. No question that Dana was off base. There is no requirement that a referee call time out to give a warning.

  • Obi-Wan Granoli

    wow, normally i don’t like mazzagatti but he didn’t really do anything wrong in this instance. he warned the fighter multiple times for the illegal elbows, “watch the angle, watch the angle” if the guy doesn’t know wtf steve is talking about well, reconsider your career choice bud. And mr.White…wtf dewd, another douche moment.

  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    Dana is the idiot, ” You stop the fight and warn the guy about illegal elbows, not tell him a million times”. The elbows werent even illegal, and it was the judges that messed up at the end for not being able to count to 30. But I do think the wrestler guy did lose based on damage but of course damage isnt (but should be) in the scorecards

  • Usmc8408

    I personally don’t see anything wrong either except that Steve should have had better control of the fight. I think he should have stopped the fight, stood them up and taken the point. To explosively yell it out like he did with them still on the ground caused a lot of confusion.

    As far as the judging, unless I’m wrong, these are amateur fights and for the sake of the show where one fighter HAS to advance, they can’t call a draw. So it seems the fight would have been a majority draw, but becasuse of the show there HAD to be a winner.

    Agree? Or am I delusional, haha