UFC Referee Marc Goddard Reveals Why You Will Never See Him Officiate a Leon Edwards Fight

Goddard offered an explanation for why he refuses to oversee a fight featuring the current welterweight world champion

Marc Goddard
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Marc Goddard will never oversee a Leon Edwards fight. 

Goddard is considered by many to be one of the most respected referees on the UFC roster, overseeing some truly epic battles, including recent title scraps like Aljamain Sterling vs. Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 and Israel Adesanya’s first meeting with Alex Pereira inside the Octagon at UFC 281.

However, there is one current world champion that Goddard will not share the cage with, though the reason may surprise you. 

“Here’s a classic case, Leon Edwards—you’ve never seen me referee Leon Edwards in the UFC and you never will, why? Because I was Leon Edwards’ first MMA coach,” Goddard revealed during an appearance on the Overdogs Podcast.

“[That was] way, way back when he was an amateur but it’s a common-sense element for me, even though the link is so [dated], who knew then when Leon first walked in… But you’ve never saw me referee him and you never will because we just keep it out of the way.”

Aside from the more obvious reasons, Goddard also explained that he doesn’t want to find himself “in a predicament where I’m making a call that could go against him, so it’s both ways.”

Marc Goddard Made a Special Request to Not Referee Pereira and Adesanya’s UFC 287 Rematch

During his appearance on the show, Goddard also revealed that he specifically requested not to referee the rematch between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira after overseeing their first meeting in November 2022. 

‘Poatan’ shocked the world that night, scoring a fifth-round TKO against ‘The Last Stylebender’ to take home his first UFC title. Following the fight, Goddard, who was assigned to officiate the contest, was the subject of criticism from fight fans, pundits, and even Adesanya, who suggested that the tenured referee didn’t give the former champ enough time to recover before stepping in and calling it. 

Out of respect for Adesanya, Goddard opted to excuse himself from potentially serving as the referee for the rematch.

“Do you remember when Israel Adesanya fought Alex Pereira for the second time in Miami? I specifically requested not to do that fight [too],” Goddard said.

“Me and him are [fine], I’ve refereed him since, I’ve refereed his fight with Sean Strickland, but I actually removed myself because what I didn’t want to do was walk in the dressing room, I was thinking of the fighter then, this is his night, it’s all about him. I didn’t want to walk into that dressing room and him to have any form of negative connotations or something like that.”

“So, I just thought that the right thing to do and the fairest thing to do by him is just stay out of the fight and give it to another ref. There’s been a couple of incidences where there’s [been] certain fighters that I would rather not [officiate] for personal reasons.”

Watch the full episode below:

Published on July 9, 2024 at 6:45 pm
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