Mario Yamasaki and John McCarthy appear to be on different pages regarding Yamasaki possibly taking McCarthy’s reffing course in July.
Mario Yamasaki might be the most hated referee in MMA. That’s a very subjective statement and can’t exactly be quantified, but he has taken a lot of heat for his actions (or inaction) during his 19-year refereeing career.
Most recently he allowed a fight between Priscila Cachoeira and Valentina Shevchenko to go on way too long, then defended his actions afterward by saying he allowed Cachoeira “to be a warrior” and that’s why he didn’t stop it earlier. His actions led to UFC president Dana White basically writing him off, saying that he hoped Yamasaki never reffed again.
For his part, Yamasaki told MMA Junkie that he now regrets the statements he made about the Cachoeira incident:
“I should have stopped it a little earlier, but I didn’t,” he said.
So in an effort to try to improve his skills in the cage, Yamasaki stated that he was intending to take John McCarthy’s reffing course in July. The C.O.M.M.A.N.D. course is considered the gold standard of officiating courses for MMA, and is apparently quite difficult to pass.
“I think they’re going to know I’m still trying to be the best that I can be. I’m not cocky, just saying, ‘I’ve been there for 19 years; I can’t learn any more.’”
The article states that Yamasaki wants to prove himself to commissions and the UFC, while applying what he learns to his own referee seminars.
There is one problem with this though – McCarthy himself says that he talked to Yamasaki recently, but that there was no indication from him that he would be attending the course. He wanted to do an “online tutorial”, but Big John wasn’t about that. And McCarthy wasn’t about to go easy on him just because he has a lot of experience already:
“I’m not going to pass him because he’s Mario Yamasaki.”
Regardless, Yamasaki knows that he needs to continue to work on his skills, and his image:
“If you count for 19 years I’ve been reffing, how many were controversial? Four? Five? But people always see mistakes,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do. I just have to focus and try not to make any early calls or late calls. Reprogram. Do my job, you know?”
Yamasaki will not work UFC 224 in Brazil, and says he will not make himself available to commissions for UFC events for six months. It remains to be seen if he will ever step foot in the Octagon ever again.