by: Jack Bratcher
It’s always very interesting to hear from the referees after controversial fights to find out why they made the calls that they did. Questions, conspiracy theories, and even some disgust seemed to abound after EliteXC’s Saturday Night Fights on CBS. So what better person to talk to than the referee who was actually in the cage with Kimbo Slice and James “The Colossus” Thompson. Steven Davey spoke with that referee, Dan Miragliotta, about the controversy surrounding the Saturday Night Fights. Miragliotta seemed very agitated that people would say the fight was a work or fixed and goes on to say the Kimbo fight was not stopped because of the ear, he says he stopped the fight because of the “uppercut, cross, hook, uppercut combination that knocked him into the fence. I looked into his eyes and saw the blank stare and knew he was out of it. I grabbed him to stop the fight and when I grabbed him he thought he was still fighting Kimbo.” I have to agree we all saw Thompson swing at the ref so that does make sense. I never really thought the fight was “fixed” per se. I just thought I saw some terrible refereeing. As reported in a prior article here at Pro MMA, even Bas Rutten, Kimbo’s trainer/manager thought Kimbo should have lost.
One thing that Dan Miragliotta said in this interview was this to paraphrase, “it was only the people at home who thought the Kimbo fight should not have been stopped. Everyone who was there at ringside said good stoppage.” If that was true Dan, that ONLY the people at home thought it was a bad stoppage, then why in the world did all the fans who were cheering for Kimbo just minutes before during his walk-in fill the arena with enough “BOO’s” to think it was a ghost convention? The whole place was booing at the end of that fight. Why Dan? Why? That doesn’t happen when people win that they love; the normal reaction is applause and cheers.
In response to people who may have thought the fight was fixed though he educates the clueless that the referees don’t get paid by the promoter. They get paid by the athletic commission. So no one came to him and said, “Ok look here’s how the fight is supposed to go.” Dan Miragliotta puts to rest the notion that Kimbo tapped. He explains what was going on in the specific instances where people were saying Kimbo tapped. Then comes one of the main questions I was waiting for. “In the second round when Thompson was on top of Kimbo landing the elbows, why was the fight not stopped?” Miragliotta says that Kimbo wasn’t being hit with anything hard, I kept asking him if he was ok and he would give me the thumbs up and smile. He basically said all the strikes Kimbo was taking were just pitter patter shots that were scoring points but not putting him in danger.
I know that cameras don’t always give us the full picture. Actually rarely if ever to they give us the full picture. So at the end of the day I guess we have to give Dan Miragliotta the benefit of the doubt because he was in the cage with the fighters looking right into their eyes. He’s a trained professional who is not new to the job. Dan goes on to say that his boss and the other referee that night, Kevin Mulhol, both said it was a good stoppage on the Kimbo fight. My only beef is when Kimbo’s own trainer/manager says he got beat you may want to take a look in the mirror Dan and just consider for a moment, just maybe you did fuck up.
Davey asks Miragliotta what he thinks of Kimbo’s potential as a professional MMA fighter. Dan responds that “Kimbo is a very good athlete, he played semi-pro football, I believe he boxed as a pro…he has one of the best trainers in the world..now he just needs to take it to that next level. If you put him against a Chuck Lidell or even Brett Rogers, who was the guy that called out Kimbo at the press conference by saying Kimbo tapped. Dan thinks Kimbo can get to that level because he is a good athlete but right now he is just a rookie.
Something I found very interesting was how much referees earn for their services. Dan Miragliotta said he actually lost money to take a day off work and drive to New Jersey to referee these fights. He said he doesn’t get a room, doesn’t get meals and doesn’t even make $250.00. While compared to alot of gigs it’s not that terribly bad but still it is pretty shabby.
Miragliotta goes on to talk about the Scott Smith / Robbie Lawler fight and the eye poke. He says that Scott Smith told him “I can’t see, I’m gonna get knocked out” and that he changed it a little bit at the press conference when he said “I would PROBABLY get knocked out.” Miragliotta says you can not keep telling the referee that you can’t see if you want the fight to continue. He also confirmed that Scott Smith did have a broken foot and if he had quit the fight because of the broken foot it would have been a loss for him and most likely would not get a rematch, so Miragliotta insinuated that maybe Scott Smith used the eye poke to get out of the fight with a “no contest” instead of a loss and that way he could also probably get a rematch. He might actually be on to something with that theory.
Dan Miragliotta said he thought the Gina Carano vs. Kaitlin Young fight was the best fight of the night. I thought the Robbie Lawler / Scott Smith fight was the best fight of the night and could have been legendary without the stoppage but the Carano / Young fight was a close second in my opinion.
Evidently Dan Miragliotta had his two young sons in the audience; one is 13 and the other 15, and he was very upset by Phil Baroni’s entrance. He said he doesn’t need his kids up there seeing this guy walk in like that and holding his crotch saying, “My fists are made for fighting and my cock for fucking.” Well I don’t really mind Baroni’s actual walk in when he’s strutting. I think it’s funny but if Baroni said that, then it is out of line and uncalled for. And on top of that it’s not even a good line. It’s just stating something totally obvious that everyone knows anyway. As far as I know all men use those two different appendages for the same purpose Phil. Thanks for nothing on that one.
(Here’s the link to the audio interview with Dan Miragliotta. It’s at the top: http://werlv.com/pages/1986019.php?contentType=4&contentId=1870015)