Mario Yamasaki has come under more criticism than any referee in recent memory, for his officiating of Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 125. However, defense has come from an estimable source, former UFC title contender and current CSAC referee Frank Trigg. Trigg was recently cited by CSAC director Andy Foster as one of the future great refs in the sport, and during a recent appearance on MMAjunkie Radio, said he thought the fight was well officiated.
Adding further weight to Trigg’s position, Yamasaki is not a fellow California ref. Indeed, Trigg feels Yamasaki’s reffing was poor during a UFC title fight, costing him a fortune.
“I think Mario did a fine job,” said Trigg, as transcribed by Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie. “And believe me, Mario and I have no love lost between each other. This fool cost me a million dollars. Let’s be very clear: It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s ‘Big’ John McCarthy, it’s Mike Bell, and it’s Mike Beltran.’ I’ll defend those guys all day long no matter what they do. These are my boys. [Yamasaki] we don’t disagree when we meet with each other, but he cost me a lot of money, and it’s his fault I’m not a millionaire now – back to that one instance he should have stopped the fight and he didn’t [vs. then champ Matt Hughes). But that’s the way it goes. What he did on Saturday night, I’m totally OK with.”
“I would have stopped it a minute earlier, but that’s because I already know the result of the fight; I already know what’s going to happen. I wasn’t in the cage. I wasn’t doing it live. From what I watched on Mario, he did everything correct. No sound, but I assume he’s talking to her. Every time she got spoken to she moved. I assume everything he did was exactly within the mechanics of the way I was taught. He was doing it correct.
“It’s his style. He’s always a little bit laid back and delayed when it comes to the stoppages. That’s just how his style is. You have your opponent, but you also have to worry about the ref. It’s getting better obviously not, but you still have to worry about the ref. When you have Mario, you know he’s coming in a little late, and you’ve got to keep going.”
“There’s a lot of stuff that went on. The corner could have stopped it at any time, told the inspector, ‘Hey, stop this fight.’ Could’ve easily told her between rounds, ‘Hey, don’t get up because your knee is jacked up.’ Hindsight, we know she had a torn MCL and torn meniscus. Have her stay on the seat between rounds; fight’s over. Let’s get her out of this thing. There’s a lot of ways for that fight to end way before it ended. It could have happened at any of these sequences.”
“Fighters are dumb. They’ll continue to fight no matter what. That’s why referees are there – for fighter safety. That’s why corners are supposed to be better – for fighter safety. You’re supposed to be there for your fighter and know when your fighter’s in deep water.”