Are fighters held more accountable than the officials and athletic commissions that oversee them?
UFC and Strikeforce veteran and current World Series of Fighting lightweight Jason High believes they are and wants them held to the same standard of accountability.
“Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges,” on the surface, sounds like a motivational phrase said to fighters to inspire them to finish an opponent. It is, and it’s not. It’s a reflection of the lack of confidence athletes and promotions have in the officials.
During the World Series of Fighting 22 main event on Aug. 1, Rousimar Palhares repeatedly fouled Jake Shields. Referee Steve Mazzagatti warned Palhares, but didn’t take a point from him. Shields was eventually submitted by Palhares and punched the Brazilian after the fight for holding onto the submission too long. The Nevada Athletic Commission suspended both fighters for their conduct, but High believes Mazzagatti should face some sort of disciplinary action as well.
“I think there definitely should be (referee accountability). Especially since we’ve had a rash of pretty egregious referee violations. I mean, there have been in the recent years. It seems like it’s getting worse,” High recently told Submission Radio. “I don’t know if it is, but everybody’s got to be held accountable, and there should be standards for the referees just as there’s standards for fighters.”
Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones failed an out-of-competition drug test leading up to his UFC 182 title defense against Daniel Cormier. He wasn’t supposed to be tested for recreational drugs, but was and tested positive to cocaine metabolites. The commission later made the results public, but was unable to take action against Jones because cocaine is not banned out-of-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“I was thinking about this the other day. Jon Jones has his problems, but the time that he was busted for cocaine, what’s his recourse for them leaking that out-of-competition test where the cocaine is not on the prohibited list? What’s his recourse against them for the damage to his reputation? Now, I’m not saying that he doesn’t do plenty of damage to his reputation after that, but you know, that’s a question that should be asked. There should be accountability on both sides for sure.”