Dana White rips ‘Mazzagatti level’ referee blunder in Ed Herman vs. Mike Rodriguez

Dana White called Chris Tognoni’s referee work “disgusting” after an apparent error flipped the script in Saturday’s Ed Herman vs. Mike Rodriguez fight at UFC on ESPN+ 35.

The light heavyweight matchup, which took place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, was marred with controversy when Tognoni misidentified a second-round strike by Rodriguez (11-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) as a low blow instead of a clean shot that dropped Herman (26-14 MMA, 13-10 UFC) and should’ve led to a TKO.

Herman was afforded time to recover, as per the rules of an illegal strike to the groin, and it proved to be a massive turning point. “The Ultimate Fighter 3” finalist managed to rally in the third round, locking in a slick kimura from bottom position that forced Rodriguez to tap out.

White was incensed by the mistake, and he put Tognoni on blast for it.

“It’s hard not to bang on this guy,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC on ESPN+ 35 post-fight news conference. “The worst I’ve ever seen. He’s a (expletive) Mazzagatti level. That’s some (Steve) Mazzagatti-level (expletive) right there. That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. That kid wins by knockout, technical knockout and loses the fight. It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.”

White believed the use of an in-fight instant replay would’ve easily rectified the situation. Nevada State Athletic Commission only allow a replay after a fight is called, though, and a bout cannot be restarted once it’s used.

That’s not a good enough system, White said, and he admitted to encouraging the sanctioning body overseeing the event to update its protocols.

“I was all over them tonight about replay,” White said. “We got to have replay. There’s got to be replay. All you’ve got to do is look at the (expletive) replay that’s playing 6,000 times while Herman’s on the ground and say, ‘Oh (expletive), I made a mistake.’ How you think that is a groin kick is next level nuts, but whatever. It happens. What are you going to do it? It happened.”

Rodriguez’s team announced within minutes of the result that it was going to file an appeal of the fight. Whether that proves successful or not remains to be seen, but as of now, it’s almost universally agreed that Rodriguez was robbed of a win on his record.

White said he’s going to do his best to make things right with the fighter on his end, though. He revealed that he will pay Rodriguez the “win” portion of his fight purse since he so strongly believes the athlete was given an unfair shake.

“We’re giving Mike his money, too,” White said. “He won the (expletive) fight.”

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