Adrenaline is pumping, and the athlete is overwhelmed and can no longer control themselves. The referee who wants to settle the arisen conflict has their head bitten off. Sometimes, the referee even saves the losing athlete's life. In this material, check out the confrontations between fighters and referees in the cage.
An excellent chokehold by the referee
On April 26, 2014, Nathias Frederick from exotic Saint Kitts and Nevis and the Brit Ahmad Aswad made their appearance on Fight UK: Last Man Standing. This bout would have hardly attracted attention, as it was not in the local tournament's main card. However, the bout's end was quite memorable.
With a minute left in the fight, Frederick knocked his opponent down and began to finish him on the ground. The referee announced his victory, but Nathias didn't stop. We don't know what made Ahmad Aswad so angry. Leon Roberts's reaction was non-standard: he choked Frederick out and calmed down the hot-tempered guy. Everything ended up peacefully, but we cannot help but note the referee's actions.
Confused the referee with the opponent
On March 17, 2017, Joseph Nehm and Ryse Brink met at the KnockOut Promotions (KOP).
The difference in the opponents' level could be seen in the first seconds of the bout. First, Brink landed a powerful front kick and then pinned his rival to the net. Ryse hit his opponent with a knee, added several solid overhands, and blasted him with an uppercut. Nehm got sick and dropped to the canvas. The referee ended the bout, but Joseph was so out of it that he started to choke him. Nehm's cornermen rushed in immediately and saved the official from losing consciousness.
"The Adventures" of Conor McGregor in Bellator
In 2017, Conor McGregor considered himself the lord of the MMA world. Sometimes the Irish attacked his opponents and the referees in other promotions.
On November 10, 2017, Conor's friend, Charlie Ward, fought against John Redmond at Bellator 187. In the last second of the first round, Ward knocked his opponent out. Conor was so happy with his compatriot's victory that he rushed to the cage to congratulate Charlie. Mark Goddard didn't like it and asked McGregor to leave. However, Conor didn't agree and pushed the referee several times without mincing words.
Conor apologized later, but the UFC wasn't persuaded and disqualified its main star for some time.
Armen Ananyan's guillotine choke
The conflicts between fighters and referees happen not only in the European promotions. Another remarkable incident took place at the Russian tournament "Crimea Rush" on August 30, 2018.
Undefeated Karlo Caput (7-0) fought against Renat Lyatifov (34-23). In this bout, however, youth prevailed over experience. Karlo sent Renat to the canvas and started to finish him when they began to exchange blows. The referee Armen Ananyan stopped the bout. Lyatifov, who missed a powerful blow, continued the fight and decided to go for a double leg against the referee.
But the latter put a bold face on and quickly choked out the fighter. Renat's cornermen helped Armen and took the athlete who lost control of his body.
The conflict between Dan Miragliotta and Michael Page
The British welterweight MVP has never been even-tempered. At Bellator 227 in Dublin, Page fought against local athlete Richard Kiely. "Venom" mocked his opponent, beat him, and danced. In the third minute, Michael knocked Kiely out but didn't calm down and kept showing the Irish he was out of his league.
Referee Dan Miragliotta interfered, but Page couldn't cool down. Venom tried to approach his opponent to get an answer from him. The referee said something to Michael, and those words made the British athlete's face change. Page said in one of his interviews after the match that Miragliotta offended him by calling him a "f****** piece of s***." Venom also claimed that this referee would no longer officiate at his bouts.
The attack on Kevin MacDonald
On October 26, 2019, two Americans performed at the Bellator 232 numbered tournament prelims, Devin Powell and Marcus Surin. Kevin MacDonald officiated this fight.
At the end of the second round, Powell started to choke his opponent. Marcus showed he was alright with traditional thumbs-up. However, Surin wasn't alright. As soon as the second round was over, Marcus began to fight against the referee and grabbed his leg. The referee realized there was something wrong with the fighter and stopped the bout immediately.
Mark Goddard saved a fighter
The UAE fighter Ahmad Al Darmaki encountered Bogdan Kirilenko at the UAE Warriors 12 on July 31, 2020. This fight wasn't long. Kirilenko tapped out in the fourth minute, but Al Darmaki wasn't interested in his submission and he kept holding him. Mark Goddard interfered and broke Ahmad's hold.
Al Darmaki attacked the referee, pushed him several times, and grabbed his shirt. Note Goddard's composure who didn't respond to these provocations and stayed calm. Ahmad threw up his arms victoriously, but it was too late. The referee disqualified him and awarded the fight to Bogdan Kirilenko. Al Darmaki left the cage before the result was announced.
This referee is worth highlighting. Mario Yamasaki doesn't attack fighters but he has repeatedly delayed stopping fights, so athletes got too much damage.
On February 3, 2018, Valentina Shevchenko debuted as a flyweight at the UFC Fight Night 125. In the new division, the "Bullet" fought against Priscila Cachoeira from Brazil. But Shevchenko's class soon showed itself.
The "Bullet" beat her opponent for two rounds and turned her face into a bloody mess. Valentina landed 95 accurate strikes, while Cachoeira had only 2. Yamasaki wanted blood and circuses, that's why he didn't stop the bout. Shevchenko finally had mercy on the Brazilian and "choked" her. After the fight, UFC president Dana White said that Mario Yamasaki would never referee another UFC fight again. As a result, the Brazilian referee was fired.
Fighters' scandals with referees usually happen because of emotional overload. The athlete really wishes to win, but they don't always succeed. In such a situation, a referee gets in the way of the fighter who lost his head. In most cases, the athlete does not even realize that they are doing something wrong.