ABC President Hits Back At Dominick Cruz: “I Hope Before Commentators Speak, They Do Their Research”

ABC president Mike Mazzulli has fired back at Dominick Cruz for the incendiary comments he made regarding the officials

ABC President Mike Mazzulli
Credit: Association of Boxing Commissions

ABC President Mike Mazzulli has come out to defend the regulators in a response issued to Dominick Cruz.

The officials included in mixed martial arts have had to face the brunt of the public’s anger if their decision does not line up with the opinion of the fans. With the recent string of controversial outcomes including Carla Esparza vs. Rose Namajunas, Logan Storley vs. Michael Page, and Ketlen Vieira vs. Holly Holm, the referees and judges have come under fire.

Dominick Cruz goes in on the officials

In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Dominick Cruz talked about the inclusion of an open scoring format while dismissing its validity. The former UFC bantamweight champion identified another issue to be at the core of the problems with MMA judging.

“The commissions set up a meeting for us announcers on the scoring system. 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.”

Cruz believes the lack of practical fighting experience is the reason for all the troubles that have come of late and encouraged increased accountability for the regulators.

ABC President fires back at Cruz

ABC President Mike Mazzulli did not take long to respond to Cruz’s comments. He spoke to MMA Junkie to talk about his assessment of the statements and disputed Cruz’s claims of officials lacking experience.

“As the president of the ABC, I have to disagree with Mr. Cruz’s statements that judges have no experience in fighting. 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.”

Mazzulli also stated that MMA is put under a stronger microscope than other sports as he argued in favor of the regulators.

“There are basketball and football coaches that have never played a snap or a game of basketball and they’re elite coaches. But when it comes to judging and refereeing MMA, the people we use are highly qualified.”

The debate of having quality judges and referees will likely rage on till the end of time. An issue that has been pointed out is the gap between the interpretation of the ruleset and its perception by the audience. There have been educational camps set up for a better understanding of how scoring works.

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