Doug Crosby tried to explain refereeing in Las Vegas mixed martial arts gyms. Many say that things did not go well

Middleweight Chris Curtis was chatting with a few teammates after a training session at Xtreme Couture when veteran MMA judge Doug Crosby was introduced to the group.

Fighters have to know what the judges are looking at, this was explained to him, and here an MMA judge was working to answer questions and explain how fights are scored. Curtis had just started his camp for the UFC 282 fight with rival Joaquin Buckley. The idea of ​​educating himself on how to assess himself seemed like a good idea.

After a few minutes, Curtis realized he wasn’t going to get any of the answers he wanted. The more Crosby talked, he said, the more deranged he and his colleagues became. He said that every question the judge received was answered with a question that “immediately made people angry.”

“I’m trying to get an answer, and I don’t have that philosophical argument of Mr. Miyagi and the ******,” Curtis told MMA Fighting.

At a certain point, he was no longer able to listen.

“My Southern family,” said the UFC vet, who knocked out Buckley last Saturday. “I’m very respectful, right, especially when a senior is talking. I literally walked out of his conversation, like, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

A judge on dozens of high-profile MMA fights and longtime movie mogul Crosby, the official who once referred to himself as a “judgement genius” in an online fight tirade, is once again at the center of controversy over a pair of scores delivered at Bellator 289 and UFC 282. Previously, his score of 50-45 in an interim bantamweight title fight was noted as the only time in the history of the database that a losing fighter swept scorecards. In the latter, he was in the majority of a decision called one of the worst in UFC history, a unanimous call of Buddy Pemblitt over Jared Gordon.

After two events earlier this month, Crosby and the two remaining referees in the Raufeon Stots vs. Danny Sabatello fight were ordered to review and score the fight. If any of the judges is found to have performed below the required standard, they can be sued from arbitration, according to Michael Mazzoli, executive director of the Mohegan Athletics Division and president of the Association of Boxing Commissions.

Crosby’s latest appearance also allegedly cost him a job on the UFC Vegas 66 fight card, as several people with knowledge of the situation have claimed to be into MMA Fighting. They asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

MMA Fighting sent numerous texts to a phone number provided to MMA Fighting and attributed by many MMA industry sources such as Crosby’s cell phone (an independent internet search of the number also turned up Crosby’s name). Someone responded and signed several letters as “DC”. The person initially declined comment and did not respond to a request for a telephone interview. But the person then sent a series of long texts that sounded like Crosby advocating visiting the gym.

The person wrote that he’s been to several major MMA gyms, including Syndicate MMA, American Top Team, and the UFC Performance Institute, to “listen to fighters about what’s important to them” in “my time.” The person claimed to have had the “blessings and approval” of Xtreme Couture owner, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, writing that he was treated with “compassion, honesty, fairness, and honesty.”

A day later, MMA Fighting received a text from the same number from someone identifying themselves as “Vince”, who wrote that he works with Crosby as a gamer. Vince said the number was not Crosby’s number but a public office number, and the person who answered was not actually Crosby, but someone else “hosting you for a laugh”. Vince refused to give his last name, Crosby’s number—which he wrote down was a “rotating cell phone”—or the number of Crosby’s assistant Jane, who he wrote was the only person with the judge’s number.

To promote a greater understanding of MMA refereeing and the current standards used to score fights, the UFC and Nevada Sports Commission put together several question-and-answer sessions using working MMA judges. UFC announcers and many famous MMA coaches are among those who attended. After dozens of major arbitration debates, the promoter and regulator have taken a more proactive role in combating misinformation about what judges are looking for. Reviews from attendees have been largely positive, and the result of the education is heard in broadcasts when commentators remind the audience of the preliminary judging criteria, which weigh the immediate impact of an effective strike and grappling above all else.

Crosby was part of a question-and-answer session, said Eric Niksic of Xtreme Couture, and the main reason the coach came out with a sour taste in his mouth. In an interview with SiriusXM Radio, Nexic called the veteran judge “No. 1 out” among the officials during a Zoom meeting, claiming the judge was “combative” and “didn’t want to be there.” Later, he sent MMA Fighting a screenshot that he claimed included Crosby’s camera view at one point in the meeting, which was angled in the medicine cabinet under a faucet.

The coach told SiriusXM Radio that Crosby wanted to come to Xtreme Couture after a Zoom call and “explain his version of refereeing.”

“I was like, ‘Okay, you’re in a Zoom meeting with all your bosses,’” Nexic told SiriusXM. “Why do you need to come on your own to talk to us about what you see and what you feel is right in governance? You had that platform then and there. … I left him in the gym, I just left. I was like, “If you want to talk to anyone you want to talk to, but I’m not going to sign for that.”

Neither the Nevada Athletic Commission nor the Mohegan Tribe Sports Department knew of Crosby’s gym visit until after the fact, NAC Executive Director Jeff Mullen and Mazzoli confirmed to MMA Fighting. Both declined to comment directly on Crosby, but Mullen said he had never before sent a mixed martial arts judge to a gym to educate fighters on refereeing.

Former UFC middleweight Jake Ellenberger wrote in a transcript that Crosby set up the Xtreme Couture meeting to “cooperate” with the fighters and hear their concerns about the referee. Despite this, he claimed the official was “blown away for the most part” but was received positively by Curtis and Extreme Couture trainer Nate Pettitte.

When Crosby was initially contacted, Curtis sighed, “Oh my God….it’s the most crap I’ve ever heard.”

“Make it clear that you take damage, if that’s not enough, then go to the second criterion, control the time, but what is the control time?” Middleweight in the UFC later said. “Once you hear him speak, he doesn’t understand the sport. This guy has never competed.” [He kept saying]I’m not a fighter. I am a stuntman. I own a stunt company. I worked with such and such comrades. Basically, he’s not a fighter. He is a stuntman champion. … He knows the basic words, but he does not understand what they mean.

Curtis added, “It scares me that this man is responsible for the referee.” Like, he has no idea what this person is doing.

The “eccentric” and “clever” Pettitt told MMA Fighting that Crosby often sounded like a lawyer as he conversed with the fighters. He said Crosby was argumentative and over-talkative with a crowd that wanted something “short, sweet and to the point”. However, he thought it was a good idea for the judge to come to the gym for the educational opportunity he brought. So Judge called the UFC Performance Institute during his wrestling practice.

Few of the fighters present, Pettitt said, stayed to listen to Crosby. But again, the judge’s style confused them.

“There was one fighter in particular…and the way it was [Crosby] He was talking, he was in circles like a lawyer talking, and he got frustrated and walked away,” Pettitt said.

Pettitte wants to see more ex-fighters enter power. He wants to know that the people who recorded the procedure in the cage have gone through it themselves. It is a job they can be hired for after their career ends.

We can’t keep blaming them [old judges],” he said. “We need to fire these guys and get them out.”

Then again, Pettitte said that even if Crosby did reach out to the public, his point was one among dozens of officials spread across different states with different backgrounds and rules.

Like interim Bellator champion who has lost every round of a title fight in Crosby’s eyes, Curtis hoped Crosby would not oversee one of his fights. As for how to make things better, he’s been texting another source: Joe Rogan.

Curtis said the famous broadcast editor and UFC commentator has suggested separating the older judges and making sure they each have access to cageside monitors. It made sense for a veteran fighter. Interpreting the procedure (and explaining it to others) was one problem. Making sure they could see everything was just as important.

“In MMA, there are many nuances and different aspects of things that can happen,” he said. “Not everyone will see everything. This system has worked in boxing for a long time. I think MMA needs something more in-depth to cover all the things that can happen in a fight.”

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