Are MMA Referees Trained?

Are MMA Referees Trained?

MMA referees are absolutely trained. They are the eyes and ears of the fight and need to be able to understand what is happening at all times, including the moves of the fighters, the rules of fights, and when to call a stoppage, if necessary. 

What Are the Steps to Becoming an MMA Referee?

You need to earn a license (which you can get through a government agency or through private training), take a training course, and then start shadowing other refs.

The road to becoming an MMA referee is not easy and requires a lot of dedication. It’s not as difficult as fighting, but it’s certainly not as simple as some of you may believe. A referee must be competent, swift, and decisive, possess some level of authority, and understand what he is dealing with, i.e. what he is doing. So, how does one go about becoming a referee?

The courses cover a wide range of topics while “shadow refereeing” provides the practical knowledge required. In some circumstances, you “shadow” an official referee and examine what he does and how he does it.

You can also take part in other activities, such as examining the ring, checking the fighters, and collecting score cards, but your actual influence is minimal at that point. However, after completing the required classes and practical work, you can get a license from the commission for roughly $100, which is super affordable.

What Traits are Needed to be an MMA Ref?

There are a number of necessary things that are required for being an MMA ref. The most important thing though is knowledge. 

In spite of the fact that the referee is neither a fighter nor an analyst, he/she needs to be aware of everything they do. A referee must be familiar with all of the methods, movements, and terminology. 

The goal of training is to be able to put your knowledge to the test as well as your application of that knowledge. After you’ve completed your training, you must be able to use the phrases you’ve learned and apply what you’ve learned in a conversation with the teachers. You need to know the rules, which are both anticipated and rational. You can’t be a referee if you don’t understand the rules, and this is where training is mandatory.

You must understand what the fighters can and cannot do; you must understand how to cope with the judges; you must understand what causes a fighter to be (un)prepared for a match; you must understand… so much. It’s not equivalent to memorizing civil and criminal statutes, to be sure, but it’s also not akin to reading a tabloid.

To be a successful referee, you must put in the time and effort, and knowing the rules is the most important aspect of your work. You’re not there to satisfy the crowd – who will most likely boo you if you follow the rules – but rather to keep the fighters from turning into animals, i.e. to safeguard the fighters and the fight, not to enforce popular opinion.

The final and most important part is judging. Although judges and referees are two distinct sorts of MMA officials, the referees must be able to score in order to follow the fight and apply all of the rules. They must also understand when and for what they can and must deduct points, which can affect the outcome if the match is decided by the judges. We’ve already covered the regulations of MMA and how much power the referee has, so we’ll recommend you to that page for a more in-depth look at this aspect of MMA decision-making.

What Does an MMA Referee Get Paid Per Fight?

Referees in MMA are hired and paid on a fight-by-fight basis, with larger events earning more money. Different kinds of referees have a base salary that raises depending on their reputation, the event, and the amount of money the promoter gives out for each event.

Big-name referees like Herb Dean and “Big” John McCarthy, for example, earn significantly more than the majority of their counterparts for the same event and category, but that’s business. So, now that we’ve covered everything else, let’s look at how much money professional refereeing may bring you!

A professional UFC referee can make up to $1,500 each regular contest, or almost $380,000 per year, according to publicly accessible data for 2020. Big names, of course, might make considerably more (up to $2,000 per match), but this is the norm.

Pay-per-view events, which often have larger budgets, can cost up to $10,000, which is a significant figure. Of course, these are only official figures, and it’s possible that some of them are considerably higher.

Only professional referees with a good reputation in the UFC are included in these figures. Unfortunately, there is no equality among various categories or even genders. Entry-level and female referees, for example, are paid way less than professionals.

What’s the Bottom Line?

When a referee receives his license, his training is not complete, because a referee must constantly monitor and keep up with the latest developments.  

In fact, it is never complete, and despite his or her expertise and reputation, a good referee will continue to enroll in new courses and seminars. So, if you want to be an MMA referee, please remember that you’ll need to continue educating yourself until you retire.