By Josh Stein on Jun 17, 2009
NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer is credited with confirming the new institution of an instant replay system to be used by the UFC and, with the latest missed call in the fight between Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic and Mostapha Al-Turk, it’s clear that circumstances have made it necessary to at least have a serious conversation and test drive of the system.
MMAJunkie talked to Kizer about the system fairly extensively, and Kizer made clear that the purpose of the system will be to review those fights declared TKO’s, even though the winner should have been disqualified for procuring the TKO by way of an illegal eye-poke, citing the Al-Turk fight and Anthony Johnson’s loss to Kevin Burns.
Kizer also credited the initial conception of the idea to UFC Vice-President Mark Ratner, and stated that a fight ended and then reviewed would be sent to the judges for immediate review and a potential technical decision. Of course, for those who think that the decisions of the judges are often less reliable than the decisions of referees, this is not necessarily a win, but in clear cut instances like the first Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns fight, Burns could have been awarded a technical decision instead of a TKO, helping to do away with some of the controversy (though, perhaps not all, as an illegal move is an illegal move, and there are those who will object to it).
To assert that the institution of instant replay will do away with the controversials calls of referee is a bit of a stretch, but it will certainly help to limit the impact that eye pokes have on a fight. Since groin strikes are usually pretty clearly identifiable and usually caught by a referee, they probably will not be the subject of many instant replays (also, because fighter’s wear cups, they never really end fights).
Kizer also raises a pointed objection to the use of an instant replay to review the differences between a knockdown and a slip in boxing (keep in mind that NSAC also regulates some of the highest profile boxing matches in the world). At the question of whether instant replay could be used in that fashion (with the video review occurring between rounds), Kizer stated: No, you couldn’t, because if Fighter A knocks down Fighter B, but the ref calls it a slip, then at the end of the round you say, ‘That was a knockdown,’ Fighter B would say, rightly so, ‘Wait a second. Had I known that was a knockdown, I would have tried for my own knockdown to try and even out the round.”
Also, though Kizer didn’t mention this, under the three knockdown rule, Fighter A could argue that not being informed of the knockdown deprived him of an opportunity to more fully and aggressively pursue a knockout. Of course, the issue of it’s applicability in boxing is altogether different.
The note that the instant replay system will only be used when a bout is ended by a controversial strike is interesting, and appropriate. In a combat sport, unlike football, the fight cannot be stopped and then restarted with the same degree of reliability and there are far more factors to take into account given the pace of the fight. It seems fair only to allow the judgement of the referee to be called into question after the bout is over, as that does not deprive the referee of his power in the cage, which (while not a concern to everyone) could have been an issue if he had been forced to consult the judges in the middle of a fight.
We’ll see how this goes. There will be some opposition to the implication, but it’s hard to see a strong point against it, assuming it is only instituted at the end of the fight and constructed to ensure that the proper decision is made and to help limit the controversy of difficult decisions.
Filed Under: MMA
About the Author: Joshua Stein is a writer and editor for MMA Opinion. He has worked as a photographer and journalist and has a number of print journalism credits. He also works as a moderator for MMAForum.com and a grappling columnist (covering judo, collegiate wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling) for profighting-fans.com.