ABC Director Mike Mazzulli On Why Judges Couldn’t Speak Publicly After Fights: ‘I Just Don’t Want Them To Deal With Scrutiny’

Mazzulli spoke about how they see things from their perspective.

Mike Mazzulli
Mike Mazzulli - Image Credit @aaronbronsteter Twitter
  • ABC Director Mike Mazzulli explained why officials aren’t encouraged to speak to the media after fights
  • Mazzulli pointed out that people would just criticize and ask negative things and it’s something that doesn’t help the sport

In light of the recent controversial judges’ decision in the UFC, Association of Boxing Commissions Director Mike Mazzulli decided to speak up and address the issue. According to Mazzulli, he doesn’t let his officials talk to the media, especially after fights because he wanted to spare them from being bombarded with scrutiny and negative remarks.

It Doesn’t make any Sense

Speaking to TSN Sports and MMA reporter Aaron Bronsteter, Mazzulli pointed out that never once did media personnel reach out to him and ask if he could speak to a judge but if they do, they might allow it to happen. But more importantly, it has to be taken into account that commentators criticizing the judges certainly don’t help the sport as it gives fans presumptions that are usually negative.

“That is the way because I just don’t want them to deal with scrutiny. You got people that whine [at] the judges to speak and everything and I’ve let them speak if they ask me on a case but with that said, it doesn’t help the sport out and I say this to commentators too. By sitting there and criticizing every little thing on scoring, do you think it is helping the sport? Absolutely not,” Mazzulli said.

“What it does is that it makes people sit there and say, ‘Dominick Cruz is right. This sport sucks. I’m not gonna watch it.’ Which makes no sense to me. I have, in the past, let a couple of officials to speak to the press, but most often if the press has a question, they can call me up anytime and have a conversation. If they wanna speak with somebody, I’d probably let it happen. I’ve never had one press person call me up and ask if they could speak with Bryan Miner, if they could speak with Ron McCarthy or they could speak with Sal D’Amato,” he continued.

Mazzulli also revealed that he and his team has a list of the best officials in the sport but even though they are already seasoned veterans, the truth about combat sports is that the more fights they judge, the more likely they tend to make a mistake.

“The more fights you judge, the more likely you’re gonna screw up,” he explained. “It’s the numbers… We have a list of the Top 15 officials and I can justify the Top 15 officials but the more fights you do, the more likely you’re gonna have a problem.”

Mazzulli knows what’s gonna happen

When asked if he would consider letting officials speak publicly about a fight in a separate press conference days after an event to ensure people are already less emotional about the decision, Mazzulli said it’s something they might talk about in the future. However, he already knew it’s always gonna be about negative things and nobody will ever talk about the good.

“That’s interesting, I would say,” Mazzulli replied. “That’s something we hadn’t discussed but I would ask you this question, ‘Have you ever reached out to an official and say, Good job!?’ Have you ever heard a commentator and say that judge did a good job tonight?’ It’s always been controversial… It never happens that way. It’s always negative, negative, negative, negative… and the negative hurts the sport. That’s why I protect my officials. I’ve never had one person call me up and ask if they can interview somebody cause he really did a good job.”

The latest big-name fighter who expressed his disappointment over a controversial decision was reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. For Izzy, two officials messed up the scorecards and it resulted in a terrible split decision loss for his teammate Kai Kara-France at UFC Vegas 74.

Published on June 5, 2023 at 11:45 am
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