The debate over instant replay heated up last year when Kevin Burns was awarded a TKO victory over Anthony Johnson due to an accidental-but-illegal eye poke which was missed by the referee that left Johnson unable to continue. A similar scenario that played out on Saturday at UFC 99 reignited the debate, when Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s knockout of Mostapha Al-Turk was setup by another missed eye poke.
Speaking to MMAjunkie on Tuesday, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer revealed that instant replay could soon be adopted by the state where the UFC holds the majority of its events, and whose rules are used for events held abroad in locations lacking their own athletic commissions:
“We’re trying to find out if there’s a way to do limited instant replay. We’re hoping to find a way to do that.
“Actually [instant replay] was [UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and former NSAC director Marc Ratner’s] idea years ago, and it just never went anywhere – mainly because of technology – but now I think we’re finally there. It has to be a foul or a stoppage that immediately ends the fight. You would never change the strategy.
“It would only be [used in] those situations where there’s an immediate stoppage of the fight and the ref wants to know was it an illegal blow, an intentional foul or an accidental foul that immediately stopped the fight. Then it would still be [the referee’s] discretion. It wouldn’t be up to the commission. It wouldn’t be the corner. It wouldn’t be the promoter. It would be the referee’s decision, just like in football. If he looks at it and he can’t tell, you’ve got to go with the original call.
“I would think you could see it as early as the end of the year if the commission agrees to make that regulatory change. The proposal will be in front of them this summer. Whether they pass it or not – then it takes time to cautify it – it could be near the end of the year.”
[Pictured: Kevin Burns eye pokes Anthony Johnson]