Controversial referee Mario Yamasaki is weighing his options in terms of whether or not he wishes to officiate going forward.
Yamasaki is a longtime referee who found himself at the center of some controversies. Many fans criticized Yamasaki for what they believed to be a string of late stoppages.
Yamasaki’s first offense to many was his officiating during the Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira bout. Yamasaki was panned for letting the fight go on far too long. Shevchenko ended up submitting Cachoeira in the second round.
After the fight, Yamasaki said he was allowing Cachoeira to be a “warrior.” This left UFC President Dana White in a foul mood. During the old FOX Sports show, UFC Tonight, White blasted Yamasaki and promised he’d never officiate a UFC bout again.
“[Priscila Cachoeira] didn’t tap and that’s the thing — the reality is when you’re a fighter and it’s one of the reasons why this sport is as big as it is, because most of you guys don’t tap. Most of you guys stay in there and she did fight like a warrior,” White said.
“For that idiot to say he gave her the opportunity to be a warrior? No you moron, you’re in there to protect her from herself. [Mario Yamasaki] makes me sick. That guy has no business reffing fights and I promise you, you’re not going to see him again.”
During an interview with AG Fight, Yamasaki discussed why he hasn’t pursued officiating fights post-pandemic and why he may never put on the referee suit again (h/t Bloody Elbow).
“After the pandemic, I didn’t pursue that (calling fights) anymore,” Yamasaki said. “I don’t think I’m coming back this year. I’m not sure if I’m coming back to calling fights at all. Nobody knows the future. For now, I’m sidelined and with no perspective of working for the UFC again. MMA was never my main job, I have a construction company. I buy, remodel houses. I work with big companies.
“MMA was always a hobby to me,” Mario continued, “A nice hobby, and of course I’d come back if they gave me a chance. I would come back next year, no doubt. I dedicated 20 years to the UFC. Not anyone will do that. I did what I had to do. Many trips, they opened the door to so many opportunities for me. It was excellent.”
Mario Yamasaki has called many high-profile title fights throughout his officiating career. He hasn’t worked a UFC card since Feb. 3, 2018.