Miragliotta Talks About Koscheck-Daley Fight


Dan Miragliotta Gives Referee's Viewpoint on Daley-Koscheck Mess 


5/11/2010 5:03 PM ET By Mike Chiappetta

There are more than two sides to a story. Just ask Dan Miragliotta, the third man in the cage during last Saturday's UFC 113 co-main event between Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck.

Just moments after the final horn, Daley sucker-punched Koscheck, drawing himself a lifetime ban from the UFC in the process. The fight also featured a phantom illegal knee. Needless to say, Miragliotta had his hands full.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound ref, who has been officiating MMA fights since 1996, took some time out of his day to discuss one of the most notorious finishes in UFC history, and how he took control of the situation.

Mike Chiappetta: With all the trash-talking that led up to the fight, were you specifically on the lookout for things more than you otherwise would be for a regular fight?

Dan Miragliotta: Basically we treat every fight the same. There's no difference. We're always looking for the same fouls and the same things whether there's trash-talking or not. That doesn't really change anything. We try to be on our toes at all times.

You've been refereeing for over a decade. Have you ever seen a competitor hit another after the bell like that before?

Never. That was the first time ever. I've seen it in boxing, but not in MMA.

What was your reaction to it?

I was shocked. I thought [Daley] was going to hug him. I thought it was over with. You've seen it before where guys hated each other, spoken poorly about each other, but when the fight is over, they still get up and give each other a hug and it's over with. Because of the trash talk, I was trying to be on my toes during the touching of the gloves and after the final bell. I tried to stay close to him. When Daley reached for him, I thought he was going to hug him. I was wrong. He caught me off-guard.

For a second, it looked like you were getting between them.

Yeah, when Daley first got up, I got between them because of the trash talk, just to play it safe. But then it felt like there was no tension. Daley was grabbing for his arm. It seemed like everything was done with and he was going to say, 'Hey Josh, good fight.' I was wrong. I was shocked.

Everyone was shocked. Koscheck afterward said that he said something to egg Daley on. Did you hear what he said to him?

Koscheck the last minute or so, had his head to Daley's side. He must have said something because I heard Daley say something back to him. With mouthpieces on and I'm standing a few feet away, I didn't hear what either one of them said. You can't hear them when they're that close to each other. They weren't yelling at each other.

In the Kimbo Slice-Matt Mitrione fight, Kimbo had apologized for putting his fingers close to Mitrione's eyes during the fight. And Mitrione goes, 'Don't worry about it, bro.' That was during the fight and that one I heard because they were standing up. I didn't hear a word [Koscheck and Daley] said.


 Did you see any anger in Daley's face those last few seconds?

I saw frustration. He couldn't stop Josh from taking him down and controlling him on the ground. From what I heard of the pre-fight interviews, they both said they were going to make this a standup battle, and it wasn't that way. Josh played his cards right and did what he had to do to win the fight. Daley was frustrated that it didn't go his way. He's a great fighter. Dana said many times the kid had such good potential. And honestly he's always been respectful to me. I've met him a couple times and he's always been nice and respectful. I was very shocked.

Had you ever refereed a Daley fight before?

No, I didn't. But I'd met him before. I've been to UK events around five times with the UFC.

What did you say to Daley when you pulled him away from Koscheck after the punch, and what did he respond to you?

I said, 'What are you doing? You're a pro fighter. What are you thinking?' He didn't answer me, so I said it again. I was restraining him. He said, 'I didn't hear the bell.' That was it. That's all he said. Everybody else heard the bell.

I'm sure there will be fallout for Daley from the Quebec athletic commission. Did anyone from the commission ask you for your version of events?

No, when the fight was over, there was no post-fight meeting. They got up and took care of business. I haven't been contacted about it at all.

Do you read or watch pre-fight interviews to get an idea of the tension level of a matchup you're going to officiate?

No. I don't do too much online stuff. If they bring me in a day early, I go to weigh-ins and can kind of feel that vibe. You can watch and see what's going on. For this event I flew in Saturday and flew out Sunday. But I heard there was a lot of trash talk. They're competitive guys and their pride is a big part of their competitiveness.

As a keeper of the rules, do you think the punishment (getting cut from the UFC) fit the crime?

Dana White is the promoter, so he gets final say. I don't have anything to do with it. I heard Dana say on your site, he'll never be back, that he's done, and even if he becomes the pound-for-pound best fighter, he wouldn't be back. I'm only the referee. You could see in Dana's interview he was very upset.

Can you touch on the illegal knee in the fight? It was hard to tell if it really hit Koscheck, though he said it did. At first it looked like you took away a point but then we found out you didn't. Can you explain what happened?

There was definitely confusion there because I never took a point away. I thought the knee missed him at first. But when Josh reacted the way he did, I thought, 'I guess I missed it.' We're not perfect, we're human. But I really thought it missed him. So Josh looked at me, held his head and said, 'The knee, the knee.'

I stopped the fight real quick and decided to bring the doctor in. They don't really get a break for that. It was intentional, because he was on the ground and [Daley] threw it right at his head, but if it didn't make contact, no points could be taken away. When the doctor came in and looked at it, it gave me time to watch the replay on the monitors in the arena. It clearly showed on every angle it didn't hit him, it didn't brush him. It maybe hit his hair. I finally watched the fight again yesterday and Joe Rogan said, 'He got hit with an illegal knee. Dan Miragliotta has to take a point away.' He was adamant about it. But then he saw it on instant replay and said, 'Oh no, that never hit him.'

I really didn't think it hit him. His head didn't move. When you get hit with a knee, your head's going to go back. His head didn't budge. When I saw the replay, I told the doctor to please leave the ring, I told Josh to get up, and I said there was no contact and no point was taken away. Between rounds Joe Rogan asked Mike Goldberg to clarify it with me, and I told him there was never a point deduction. Then they cleared it up on the air.

If it was an Illegal blow like that, not only do I have to take a point away, I could take up to two points if it creates damage, and it could be a disqualification if the fighter couldn't continue. But we got it sorted out.

Why do you always seem to be involved in these crazy things, Dan?

[Laughing] I told [Counsel to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board] Nick Lembo he's got the hex on me. I get some crazy things. I got big shoulders, I can take the abuse. But that's why I don't go on the internet. Everybody's got a comment to make. Hopefully this time it's good comments.



Props for Big Dan.

props to Dan, he deserves them for this round (and for the Anderson fight)

Good interview!

Big Dan is good people.

Very good interview. One question about the knee. On the replay you see the hair move and Dan brought up a really good point about his head not moving. However, there was a pretty big red scrape/mark on Kos's head where the knee would have hit. Where did that come from? Seemed to be around that same time?

So Josh looked at me, held his head and said, 'The knee, the knee.'

A yet Koscheck says in his Ariel video, "I don't know what hit me but I got hit by something." More lying from Kos.

Gotta show the refs love when they get it right. Just isn't done enough in my opinion.

Well done sir.

 He hit himself..

and props to Big Dan...

I'm the first one to bust his ball when he does wrong, and as I've said in other threads for the last 2 UFC's he's done a good job. Although I wish he would have issued that warning to Silva a round earlier than he did.

Great interview and Dan def deserves his props for great officiating this fight.

Fan of Big Dan for life after rag-dolling Daley.

Big Dan did good

Gotta say that's one of the best reffing jobs I've ever seen from Big Dan.

 Props to Orange Dan!

great work

loved it when Dan broke up the fight between Kimbo vs James Thompson - then James shoves him in the face... lol

 TTT for Big Dan. 

What caused the blood on Josh's forehead to occur at right about the same time the illegal knee hit? Not arguing, just wondering.