(Dave Mandel/Sherdog)UFC Referees And The Problem Of Early Stoppages Jeremy Klump February 6, 2015 News, Spotlight As more Ultimate Fighting Championship fans criticize early stoppages, more UFC referees become their own worst enemy. One of the biggest criticisms of current fights is when a referee stops a fight too early. The reason? People want the fighter who trained and prepared for the fight to have an opportunity to keep going. It is a valid reason to have an opinion and feel like the referee is wrong, but there is a problem with it. What is the problem associated with the criticism of referees? The criticism that a referee gets for his choice to stop the fight is turning into a mind game instead of instinct, and that is not good for the referee and the sport. I agree that some fights are stopped too early, and yes it is frustrating, but we need to let the referees do what they are paid to do. It is easy for us, the people on our couches who do not have a rush of a real fight in front of us, to say that a fight was stopped too early. It is a lot different for an actual referee who has the fight moving at 100 mph in front of him or her. UFC referees are becoming targets of unfair comments regarding stoppages in fights and it is not just the fans. Dana White has been a vocal leader when it comes to referees stopping a fight too early, but what he actually might be doing could be negatively effecting what he is trying to fix. At the end of the day, a stoppage comes down to instincts of the referee and knowing when he or she feels the fight needs to be over. The problem is becoming that their instincts are starting to be taken over by thoughts of unfair criticism. A big problem with referees playing the mind games of when to stop a fight or let it continue is that more and more fights are not being stopped at the right time. More referees are letting fighters take extra punishment that is not needed because they do not want to be called out for stopping a fight too early. UFC fans have been trying to come up with an idea of how to help make the decision to stop a fight or let it continue easier. One idea that a fan had was to have the referees wear an earpiece and have someone from a different location in the arena letting them know if they should or should not stop the fight. There were other creative ideas, but the UFC does not need to do that, in fact they do not need to do anything different. What the UFC needs to do is trust the men and women they are paying to ref their fights. They need to believe that their judgment is the best judgment out of anyone. Fans, and Dana White, need to not criticize referees for stopping a fight early, but instead understand that by criticizing the decision it could actually make it worse. Referees should not be afraid of the backlash they take when they stop a fight early, but they should trust their instincts and when they believe the fight should be stopped they should stop it.