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New York commission does allow instant replay, though it's not yet formalized in rules

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New York State Athletic Commission referees do have the power to use instant replay when they make calls during fights, a spokesperson today told MMAjunkie.

Those referees “are empowered to consult video evidence, pursuant to broad statutory authority designed to allow NYSAC and its agents to arrive at correct determinations,” NYSAC spokesperson Laz Benitez wrote in an email.

Although authority isn’t formally codified in the commission’s rules, that could be changing in the wake of a controversial ending in the co-headliner of last Saturday’s UFC 210 co-headliner.

“NYSAC will be reviewing the question of formalizing this authority as a written policy,” Benitez added.

Following a TKO loss to Gegard Mousasi in a critical fight for a contender spot, ex-middleweight champ Chris Weidman claimed referee Dan Miragliotta had overstepped his bounds in the second frame by stopping the bout on the belief Mousasi threw a pair of illegal knees to his head, only to change his mind and rule them legal.

Replays

“I thought I was going to win because of the illegal knee,” Weidman said. “He left the octagon and looked at a replay, and said it was a legal knee. But in the state of New York, there are no replays. So it’s a crappy situation.”

Weidman (13-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) said he would appeal the decision and asked for an immediate rematch. Benitez stated an appeal has yet to cross his desk, though such documents take time to prepare and submit.

In a statement provided to MMAFighting.com and MMAjunkie, Benitez clarified that Miragliotta was in his rights to change his call after reviewing replays of the sequence and consulting veteran referee John McCarthy, who was also in the NYSAC’s employ for the event.

“Commission doctors determined Mr. Weidman medically unfit to continue the bout following the knee strikes,” Benitez wrote. “The question of the legality of the knee strikes impacts only the outcome of bout – would it be ruled a loss by technical knockout for Mr. Weidman, or would his opponent be disqualified for delivering illegal strikes?

“Upon referee consultation and a review of video evidence, the initial ruling the knee strikes constituted illegal strikes was overturned. This resulted in the correct result – Mr. Mousasi won the bout by technical knockout.”

The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board cited the bout in a letter to members of the Association of Boxing Commissions, noting its opposition to a rule change that made Mousasi’s knees legal and advising commissions to use instant replay.

But according to the NYSAC, the latter has been in place for almost a decade. In the statement provided to MMAjunkie, Benitez cited a 2008 decision in New York’s state supreme court as the foundation for the Mousasi-Weidman outcome. After boxer Raul Frank sued the NYSAC for reversing a TKO victory to a no-decision, the court ruled the commission was within its right to “alter a referee’s in-ring determination” using videotape evidence.

That could deal a preemptive blow to Weidman’s case should he go forward with his appeal. As for a rematch, it appears Mousasi (42-6-2 MMA, 9-3 UFC) isn’t overly eager to run back the fight. UFC President Dana White indicated he isn’t crazy about the idea, either.

“Many, many times, even in great states like Nevada, not only are you battling your opponent, you’re battling the ref and judges and anybody else who has any type of power over the fight,” White said. “You’ve got to go in there and fight to win, fight to finish. It looked like (Weidman) was in a real bad position right there, and that’s the way the fight was going to go.”

For complete coverage of UFC 210, check out the UFC Events section of the site..



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