411mania Exclusive: Referee Steve Mazzagatti on Emerson/Maynard fight
411mania was able to catch up with Steve Mazzagatti, referee for the controversial Gray Maynard/Robert Emerson fight from the Spike TV Ultimate Fighter 6 finale. Steve was able to clear up some of the questions currently going around regarding the stoppage and his role in the decision.
411mania: A lot of people are talking about the Emerson/Maynard fight and the decision of it being ruled a “no contest”. Could you tell us what you saw from your vantage point and why you called it as you did? In retrospect do you believe the decision of calling it a no contest was correct?
Steve Mazzagatti: “I stopped the fight as Rob was in pain. I did not see a tap, but I don’t see what it matters. In boxing we give both fighters an 8 count and may count one or both fighters out. In this sport we don’t have an 8 count. But both fighters were done. Should a fighter who is out win? I don’t have time to think about all this stuff but I hope we can learn. I do think it was the right call.
“I also want to say the call was mine. I informed the commission that both fighters were unable to continue. That was my call.”
411mania: So you didn’t see Rob tap, but he was in pain and you were going in to stop it regardless?
Mazzagatti: “He [Maynard] was knocked out by the same slam that made Emerson want to stop. I just saw Emerson was in trouble first. But if you want to nit pick, I would think Maynard was out before Emerson taped.”
411mania: Once you stopped the fight, did you have a role in turning it into a no decision? How exactly did that go down?
Mazzagatti: “It was not changed. The call was mine. I never said Maynard won. As soon as the doctors were taking care of the fighters I told the commission that both fighters were unable to continue. That was a fact, that was my call. The rest was BS. Now if he would have KOed himself on a back flip after the fight, he still would have won. I am sure we will see that soon.
“I knew as soon as Maynard rolled over limp what the call was going to be. I can’t think of a commission that has ever overturned a ref’s call. Not in Nevada. The ref is the only person that can stop the fight. And he makes the call as I did. We have to live with the call the ref makes. If they overturn calls there are much worse examples to over turn. Maynard can protest at a later date but I don’t think he has a leg to stand on. We know in this sport sh-t happens. That’s why we love it.”
411mania: Some people are citing the Hughes/Newton fight from a few years ago as a precedent. Hughes was in a triangle while standing with Newton against the cage, Hughes went out and slammed Newton to the ground, knocking Carlos out in the process. Hughes ended up earning the victory even though he was out as well. Any thoughts on that logic?
Mazzagatti: “Hughes slammed Newton to break the hold. We see it all the time. I agree he may have been out or close to it, but as soon as the hold was broke he came to and could have fought. That’s why he slammed him. That’s Hughes. The fight was stopped because Newton was unable to fight. Big John made the call and that’s it. I agree with it. If Matt would have rolled over as Maynard did I’m sure it would have been ruled the same way as the Maynard fight. Either way the ref of that fight called it the way he saw it.”
411mania: Thanks Steve. One more question that is probably of as much interest to many of our readers. People want to know, what happened to the mustache?
Mazzagatti: “The stache was slowing me down. It’s a lot of weight off my shoulders.”