Referee Marc Goddard defends main event officiating after Kevin Lee calls “bulls**t”

Marc Goddard

Last night, in the main event of UFC Sao Paulo, Thiago Santos stepped into the cage with short-notice replacement opponent Eryk Anders. Toward the end of the third round, Santos began unloading on Anders on the ground, punishing him with thudding punches and elbows to the head. Remarkably, however, Anders survived until round’s end.

Unfortunately, Anders could not regain his footing once the round was over. Although it his cornermen attempted to peel him off the canvas, he collapsed not once, but twice, which prompted referee Marc Goddard to wave the fight off.

Post-fight, UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee took to Twitter to criticize Marc Goddard for his officiating. Lee feels Goddard erred in the way he re-set the fighters after one fighter lost a mouth guard.

“Damn [Marc Goddard] you really stole that shit from [Eryk Anders],” Kevin Lee said. “Straight put him in position to take them elbows. I’m calling bullshit.”

This prompted Goddard to respond and offer an explanation of his choices in the fight.

“Mr. Lee both fighters returned to exact same position that I stop to replace the gum-shield, i.e. against the fence in over/under clinch,” Marc Goddard said in response to Kevin Lee. “Would you rather I start with Mr. Anders pressing position taken away? We can have our own opinions, we can’t have our own facts. I respect you.”

From there, Marc Goddard addressed another controversy from the bout: some fans felt that Santos landed some illegal strikes to the back of Anders’ head.

“For the record being struck below the line of the top of the ears IS NOT a foul,” Marc Goddard said. “A 2 inch line running centre from curve/crown of head down the spine is the foul area inc. Entire rear (not side) of neck. Also being struck directly behind the ear is NOT a foul. Hope this helps.”

“You’ll see ‘Marreta’ [Santos] throw some punches to Anders as he is face down,” Goddard added in a second Tweet. “I don’t want the fight to be stopped on a foul so I shout to warn of punches close to that 2 inch centre line. He then switches to elbows. All elbows. perfectly legal. Again I really do hope this helps.”

After addressing these issues, Marc Goddard assured that one of his main priorities as a referee is transparency. He will always be open and honest about the decision he makes while he’s refereeing, he says.

“I will always strive to give insight & explanation wherever I can to help educate (in the realest sense) & explain thought process & decision making,” he said. “I believe this is fair, just & critical for the sport. Ignorance we can overcome, abuse I won’t. Thanks all.”

What did you think of Marc Goddard’s officiating in the UFC Sao Paulo main event?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/23/2018.