Robert Whittaker Has Sympathy For Referees In MMA Despite Bad High-Profile Calls: ‘Nobody Talks About A Ref Doing A Good Job…’ (Exclusive)

June was a big month for the UFC’s middleweight division with several top contenders in action as the upcoming title fight between Dricus Du Plessis and Israel Adesanya draws closer.

Former champion Robert Whittaker could have announced himself as the number one contender had Khamzat Chimaev not withdrawn from their main event in Saudi Arabia.

Whittaker ended up facing Ikram Aliskerov where he produced a dominant display to earn a first-round finish.

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Earlier in the month, there was controversy in the division after Nassourdine Imavov stopped Jared Cannonier in a call that many believe was made too soon.

Referee Jason Herzog waved the fight off in the fourth round with fans believing that he stopped the fight too early despite some worrying signs from Cannonier.

Robert Whittaker Does Not Envy The Thankless Role Of Being A MMA Referee

In an exclusive interview with MMA News, Whittaker said that he feels some sympathy towards MMA officials for the thankless jobs that they do.

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“The Reaper” didn’t agree with the stoppage of that fight but he also didn’t want to be too negative about the call that Herzog made in this instance.

He stated that he understands the frustration of being on the wrong end of an early stoppage and having faced Cannonier in the past, knows that there is no quit in him.

However, Whittaker said that he does not envy the role of the referees, specifically referencing how they never get credit but will always get criticized when a mistake is made.

“Mate, being a ref’s hard. It’s a hard gig and it’s easy to point the finger at a ref for being trigger happy or pulling a fight too late or pulling a fight too short but man, the reality is their job is so hard. So hard. Nobody talks about a ref doing a good job, they only get hammered when they make a mistake or when it’s not to the liking of the fans. It’s a hard gig and I don’t have an opinion on it.”

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Here are the some of the other topics Whittaker discussed in the exclusive interview that you can watch in the video above:

  • Being upset with the media for misrepresenting his injury issue heading into the Aliskerov fight
  • Reacting to his first KO finish in seven years
  • On refereeing and how he would change judging in MMA
  • Explaining his decision not to weigh in at UFC 305 as the backup fighter
  • Discussing Sean Strickland, Bo Nickal, and Conor McGregor
  • Predicting how a rematch goes against Dricus Du Plessis

Read More: VIDEO: Israel Adesanya Reacts To Longtime Rival Alex Pereira’s Knockout Of Jiří Procházka At UFC 303

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