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Quality Judging is the Foundation of Any Sport

By Robert Dean: There’s a lot of injustice in this world, and it always infuriates people. When you think of the most memorable moment of this year’s NFL season, it has to be the end-zone play in the Seattle-Green Bay game, that cost all the replacement refs their jobs. Even people who don’t watch football were talking about it the next day. This was all because the NFL was too cheap to hire good referees. Without superb refereeing, the results of the sport lose their legitimacy.

When the result isn’t legitimate, no one wants to watch. People watch sports to find out who the better team really is on the field, not one influential person’s isolated opinion Nobody tunes in to see referees and judges bungle what should be a really simple job. I know refs and judges jobs are tougher than they look, but which job do you think is tougher, judging a fight, or being in the fight? Is it easier to be an NFL ref, or an NFL player?

There’s people lined up out the door to get these officiating jobs, but somehow it’s very common for people who blunder at it to not have any consequences. I would love to be connected like that. Think of the referee who did the first Bute-Andrade fight. I just assumed I would never see his face again after that fight but Canada must have a severe shortage of refereeing talent because I see him all the time. That’s what I remember most about Bute’s whole career. There’s no point in even having world quality fighters if you don’t have world quality judges as well.

One recommendation I have is to not use local judges. Have a small group of expert judges and fly them around to the fights. Then it will be much less suspicious if the local fighter actually wins, because he wasn’t awarded the fight by a local judge. Also, make sure the scores are added right before they are handed to the announcer. In the Cunningham-Adamek fight yesterday there were some issues about that.



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