We have one simple rule on The Garv.com: one can express any opinion on earth, but must do so with respect.
I'm passionate about studying some of the issues in our young sport of MMA and trying to brainstorm logical ideas to make positive changes. In most cases, solutions are derived from troubleshooting problems, and pointing out a problem to analyze often equates to criticizing the performance of an official judge or referee.
This can be a fine and difficult line to walk, but at the end of the day, I hope that I and everyone else on our website succeed in voicing an opinion in a manner after which we could gladly approach the subject of our criticism in person, shake their hand with a smile, and engage in a respectful discussion.
I disagreed with Dan Miragliotta's decision to stand the Waylon Lowe vs. Willamy Freire fight when Freire had a locked kimura, even though a bit of a stalemate had ensued with little action taking place. Of the utmost importance is that my argument in that article was that I feel there should be no stand-ups in MMA at all. None. I think "action" and "excitement" should all be a result of the fighter's performance.
However, even under the existing rules, I would've liked to see a little more time expire before the intervention. I believe that it was Lowe who was stalling because he was in a vulnerable position due to Freire's threatening submission attempt (an act described under "effective grappling"). Patience is an integral aspect of submission fighting, and it seems that lately the emphasis to entertain the fans and maintain a high pace has taken precedence over the pure art and fundamentals of unarmed combat.
Most of the fan's feedback from my view on eliminating referee stand-ups pertained to the concern of "boring fights" or "lay-and-pray performances" from fighters who would repeatedly take his opponent down and only implement control from the top. In my humble opinion, that's a fight. That's what happens in hand-to-hand combat. There is no other sport on earth absent of individuals, teams, or moments that enforce an intelligent strategy that doesn't unfold in exciting fashion.
In boxing, a fighter may clinch and crowd an opponent who has dangerous, knockout-power. In basketball, a team with a slight lead might stall for the sole purpose of letting the clock run out. In curling, one player might .... just kidding. Who understands that sport? Regardless, patience and strategy are part of any athletic competition, and the level of entertainment and excitement that results should rest solely on the shoulders of the players; not the officials.
In MMA, the referee already has the most important job in the entire sport: maintaining fighter safety while making sure no rules are broken. Why should he or she also bear the burden of deciding when there isn't enough action?
I often hear that Pride's yellow cards are the answer to this, but Dana White just handed the world's biggest yellow card to Gerald Harris for a passive performance versus Maiquel Falcao. My point is that Dana and company have made it clear that they desire a fan-friendly showing and will handle a fighter who doesn't impress accordingly. I'm much more comfortable with the people who sign a fighter, negotiate his contract, and pay his salary making that decision than the referee.
This is also why I'm firmly opposed to the suggestion in Doc Hamilton's proposed "Half-Point System" where the referee would raise his hand to signal a "near submission". This places the responsibility of scoring on the shoulders of the referee, when any qualified judge should be able to readily identify when a submission is threatening enough to warrant credit on the score cards.
All this being said, I've met Dan Miragliotta before, and hope to meet him again without having his bulging, tanned arms encircled around my throat to throttle me. If he did engage in such uncouth violence on account of my criticism, I would put up a valiant and honorable fight by trying to bite him, gouge his eyes out, and ruthlessly attack his genitals with any sharp objects within reach. This is also why I wear a steel cup and eye goggles anytime I venture out in public.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- someone with an opinion that actually matters is probably why you might still be reading this. Nick Lembo, "Counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board", was kind enough to lend some comments on my article about eliminating referee stand-ups entirely and the Freire-Lowe stand-up.
Nick Lembo: "I have reviewed the Friere-Lowe UFC Fort Hood fight video tape and standup as you requested in a prior e-mail; and as discussed in an article which you just wrote.
To recall, you were critical of the referee standup regarding the kimura attempt by Freire. In my view, Freire did have Lowe in a potential kimura submission. Although he was in guard with both hands locked tight, he had an open guard and was on his left hip. Further, his back was against the cage. Lowe wisely kept pressure to keep Freire against the cage and gripped his own inside leg to prevent the submission. The referee did seem to warn both fighters for a stand up after a bit of time. The fighters were told to improve their position. After more time without improvement, the fighters were stood up."
DW: Does that mean you agree with the stand-up, or that it was acceptable?
NL: "I think the standup was allowable within the discretion of the referee."
DW: How about my comments regarding some of the additional responsibilities that would be placed on the ref?
NL: "I agree 100 percent with your comments regarding the referee's unwarranted additional duties."
DW: And my opinion about no standups at all?
NL: "I fully appreciate your view regarding no stand ups by the referee whatsoever. However, I would see that affecting the growth of the sport and the attraction of the so-called fanbase; which is needed to get MMA like the MLB or the NFL. I think promoters would rally against such a modification."