ABC President Michael Mizzulli has responded to Dominick Cruz‘s recent criticisms about the quality of their judges.
Athletic commissions and judging have been under heavy criticism for some time now. However, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, whose words carry a lot of weight, recently spoke out on the matter, specifically in regards to judges’ qualifications to score an MMA fight.
Cruz voiced his concern for having judges who aren’t experienced mixed martial artists themselves judging fights that can make or break an athletes’ career.
“The commissions set up a meeting for us announcers on the scoring system,” Cruz said. “Well, who’s setting up the meeting for the commissioner on what a takedown is? Who is setting up a meeting for the commissioner on choosing what a takedown is? That know what it feels like to get hit with a calf kick, compared to a high kick? …
“I’ve had to feel that feeling to know you have about three to five of those kicks before the muscle and the nerve pretty much shuts down.
“How many of these judges know that, know that feeling, know that after you get taken down five times by Khabib, on No. 7, even though he didn’t do any damage, it took seven takedowns to get that dude down.
“How tired is that guy? They’ve never been in that position. They don’t know how miserable that is.”
ABC President Responds To Cruz’s Comments
In response, ABC president Mike Mizzulli fired back at Cruz in a statement to MMA Junkie. Mizzulli pointed out how several referees and judges have combat sports backgrounds of their own.
“As the president of the ABC, I have to disagree with Mr. Cruz’s statements that judges have no experience in fighting,” Mazzulli said. “A fine example is Sal D’Amato.
“He’s a black belt in karate. Derek Cleary is a black belt in karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Eric Colon owns his own jiu-jitsu gym. Dave Tirelli owns Tiger Schulmann’s gym.
“Dave Peabody, a local judge (here) is a black belt in karate. Dan Miragliotta was a promoter and a Muay Thai fighter. Bryan Miner (was a kickboxer).
“In the future, I hope before commentators speak, they do their research.”
Mizzulli went on to explain that having experience in the sport itself doesn’t always necessarily translate to good officiating or judging of the contest. He pointed to referees and coaches in sports like basketball and football as prime examples.
“There are basketball and football coaches that have never played a snap or a game of basketball and they’re elite coaches,” Mazzulli said.
“But when it comes to judging and refereeing MMA, the people we use are highly qualified.”
Mizzulli went on to make a very interesting offer. The annual Association of Boxing Commissions Convention is set to go down in Niagara Falls this summer. Mizzulli is offering an open invitation to any fighter who would like to attend and receive a free course on how to become a judge.
“The ABC meeting is in Niagara Falls,” Mazzulli said. “As the president of the ABC, I’m inviting any fighter or commentator to attend for free and learn how to judge.
“The criteria is right on the ABC boxing website. It’s right there, so don’t tell me you can’t find it. It’s not secret.”