While Josh Burkman continues to be showered with praise for blasting (or choking) through Jon Fitch at WSOF 3 Friday night, for the residing official Steve Mazzaggatti, it’s been kind of the opposite. After Burkman stunned Fitch only moments into the bout, he sunk in a fight ending guillotine choke, however, Mazzagatti did not intervene until Burkman left Fitch laying unconscious on the mat.
As a result, Mazzagatti has come under fire from some observers, including most notably Dana White, who has never hid from the fact he doesn’t respect the official. Following UFC 161 this Saturday, White laid into Mazzagatti for his inaction at WSOF 3, and declared the ref is a “toolbox” as well as “dangerous” (and no one likes to be called a toolbox…just ‘tool’ is bad enough).
“I think it’s a little harsh,” Burkman said when asked about White’s comments specifically. “I think that part of it is justified. I think he could have been down there in a better position, but I think Mazzagatti maybe felt the flow of the energy in the fight. He knew I was going to take care of it, lay him down nicely and get out of the way.”
Of course, Burkman would likely rather have people focus on the fact that he just took out one of the sport’s top welterweights in Fitch, only a few months after he stopped Aaron Simpson in the opening round at WSOF 2. In other words, things are going pretty well in the career of Burkman right about now.
“The main thing I want to be able to do is, I really want in these last few years of my career, to put everything I have into it, and be as dedicated and focused as I can, so when I’m done I can say, ‘That’s as good as I could have been. I did my very best and that’s as good as I could have been.”
Seems like things are going according to plan for the 32 year-old vet.