“Perfection Doesn’t Exist” – Veteran Referee Marc Goddard Debunks Retired UFC Legend’s Take on the Profession

Published 04/17/2023, 1:12 AM EDT

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Refereeing in combat sports is undeniably one of the high-responsibility jobs. It is not just about making decisions regarding the fight that will further navigate the fighters’ career, but also one mistake from their end could cause catastrophic consequences. This has been the case quite often, especially in MMA, where a wrong decision by the referee can cause severe injuries to the fighters. As a result, referees face severe backlash, and their credibility comes under scrutiny. Hence, it is far from an easy job, if one may have presumed.

However, the veteran UFC referee Marc Goddard knows that very well. Goddard has earned a reputation as a reputed referee in his career so far. On the flip side, he has had his share of backlash from the fans as well.


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Recently, the retired UFC fighter Forrest Griffin put forth a doubt he had about the jobs of referees. This caught Goddard’s attention, who was quick to offer an insight to the former fighter on how the referees approach their jobs.

Marc Goddard schools Forrest Griffin about refereeing

The former UFC lightweight champion Forrest Griffin recently took to Twitter to pose a question to referees about how they identify the “fouling tendencies” of fighters during matches.

He wrote, “I wonder if refs study film to see if fighters have fouling tendencies?”.

Marc Goddard happened to come across the tweet and promptly cleared Griffin’s doubts.

The veteran referee replied, “Forrest. I can attest that after 23 years in this sport (now in my 19th year as a ref) I remain immersed in MMA, still train. We are constantly watching, critiquing & discussing with each other. Review & reflection are continuous. Perfection doesn’t exist, the quest for it does.”


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In his follow-up tweet, Goddard emphasized, “We’re also impartial & down the line & can’t take predetermined notions into fights. It’s a blank canvas every time. Fighters can be tricky, play the game & push boundaries. A good referees experience, competency & common sense should be able to deal with any & all circumstances.”

Being in the profession for more than two decades, Goddard is certainly well-versed in his job enough to clear any doubts like this. He knows the ins and outs of refereeing, having seen it all in his many years in the sport. In fact, he is a seasoned pro at this point.


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What are your thoughts on the referees in the UFC? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Mayur Soni


One take at a time

Mayur Soni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His journey as an MMA fan started with Conor McGregor’s historic 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo in 2015, which sparked his love for the sport. Since then, he has closely followed the sport and gained an in-depth understanding of its nuances, which reflects in his insightful and analytical writing.
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Edited by:

Rohini Kottu