TXMMA – Texas Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Referee Certification Course


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Home Forums General Forums Mixed Martial Arts & Combat Sports MMA Referee Certification Course

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    Join UFC & Bellator veteran referee Kevin “The Ref” MacDonald at the Martial Arts Academy of San Antonio to earn your MMA referee certification which is required by TDLR to obtain a MMA referee license. The event will take place November 12-13, 2011. Please email Frank Collazo at frankcollazoiv@gmail.com for more information and to reserve your spot!


    Veteran UFC Ref, Im not sure Ive ever heard of Kevin? Is he from Texas? Does this course get you a referee license for Texas? Just some questions alot of people are asking? I thought the UFC ref from Texas was Kerry Hatley? Saw him ref 137?


    Kevin is from the Boston area and is very well known in the New England area, but unfortunately not very well known inTexas. I have not heard of many if any referees or judges who have his experience and that are also providing training courses in our area let alone are approved ABC trainers. I contacted the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to see what was needed to become a licensed referee or judge in Texas and they sent me a list of 6 Association of Boxing Commission approved trainers in the United States that provide approved training for MMA refereeing and judging. Of course I looked into Jon McCarthy and Herb Dean’s schools, but they were expensive and I’d have to invest in travel to take their courses and there is no guaranty you will pass. So I started looking into the other four referee/judges on the list. Upon further research I found Kevin MacDonald, in my opinion, to be the next best guy on the list, if not better due to his accessibilty. So I called Kevin up and inquired about going up toBostonto train with him. He then suggested I look into getting enough guys together to split up the cost of the training and he offered to come to San Antonioto provide the training classes. I thought this was a very nice gesture and immediately put together dates and times to make this happen.

    I promise you Kevin MacDonald is a very well qualified and experienced referee:

    • One of only six ABC approved trainers
    • Licensed MMA Referee in MA, NH, RI, NJ, ME, and for the Mashantucket Tribal Council
    • MA, NH, NC, and ME Head Referee/Judge trainer
    • Developed and implemented current referee and judge training programs for MSAC, Maine MMA Authority, NHSB, and WC
    • Referee for over 1,300 MMA bouts
    • Conducted pre-fight rules meetings at more than 200 events
    • Assisted in drafting current rules and regulations for MA, NH, and ME MMA
    • Former MMA fighter (trained with mark DellaGrotte)
    • 15 plus years experience in the industry

    Kevin also has a B.A. from Oregon State University and attended the U.S. Naval Academy. Kevin is very well qualified, experienced, and an overall good guy who knows MMA inside and out. If you wish to contact Kevin please do so or visit his website to read up a little more if you have any questions about his background.


    Now as far as “certification” goes…I have talked to Greg Alvarez who is one of the head administrators from the TDLR about this subject. He told me there are no “certification” classes in Texas, but taking an approved training course from one of the approved ABC trainers and earning a certificate of completion from Kevin can only help you when you apply for a license from the State of Texas for either a referee or judge license. There are still other requirements needed to obtain a license fromTexas which include additional cost and apprenticeship programs among other things. Taking a training course does not guaranty you will be a MMA referee, but it will help. As far as other states go I do not know. Texas is the only state I have looked deeply into for licensing. Every state is different and I think this is due to the fact tha tMMA is such a young sport still. You will need to look into what your state requires to obtain your license.


    Lastly, Kevin made his UFC referee debut at UFC 128 in New Jersey, but has refereed numerous Bellator events and other large organizations throughout his career as a referee and judge. I have placed a few links for some news stories about Kevin and what people think about him in the New England area. Check it out and you are welcome to call me at 210-771-1166 or email me at frankcollazoiv@gmail.com if you have any other questions about the course.






    I promise you will not regret taking this course. I am very passionate about MMA and have been training in San Antonio, TX for about seven years and have always wanted to be involved with MMA behind the scenes and thought this was a great opportunity to bring guys who love the sport the way I do a way to learn from one of the sports great referees and overall good guys.




    Frank C


    In the initial post I shouldn’t have wrote, “earn your referee certification” and should have written earn your “certificate of completion”. Sorry for the confusion. Texas does not have “certification” classes yet, but we are working on it and Kevin’s class training outline is actually under review right now with the TDLR. I will update when I hear more!


    Thanks for the clear explanation. After this weekend in Houston looks like more training is needed in Texas and other states? Who are the most qualified refs in Texas?? I just heard the 2 in Houston were not good???


    No problem and I’m glad it cleared it up! I really can’t say anything bad about any of the refs here in Texas…I think most of the refs make pretty good decisions and I think it’s always better to error on the side of caution! But I do think the biggest problem with refereeing in Texas and in general is that it’s not a full time job for most of these guys. This is something they do on their spare time because they love the sport and I think a lot of these guys lack proper training. It’s easy to determine when someone is knocked out…but how many times do you see someone tap out and they don’t stop the fight or vice versa when someone doesn’t tap and the ref takes the word of the guy applying the submission. Knowing when to stand guys up when they aren’t working on the ground or in the clinch against the cage. These are all things that can be addressed with proper training which will hopefully bring some consistency to refereeing.


    Now judging is a whole different animal…


    They addressed the topic on Inside MMA this past week and it’s very apparent that there are huge gaps in what judges look for to score a fight and what fans or fighters think! I think the problem can be helped with training, but it will never be fully addressed until MMA rules and judging criteria are unified and regulated in every state across the country. As popular as the UFC and MMA is, it is still illegal in some states including New York!!! Though MMA is regulated in most states, there are still gaps in judging criteria for the different states and I think this will take time to unify. The 10 point system works for boxing, but doesn’t seem to be working for MMA. There is so much more to account for in MMA…guys that are good off their back and are continously looking for submissions while the other guy lays on him should hold more weight than say the take down that put him on his back. These problems are going to be the growing pains for a while, but as the sport continues to grow and as more and more companies want to put money into the sport, we’ll see these problems become less and less prevalent!


    I have seen several Refs from Texas on big cards and think they do a good job. Have seen several when OK fighters Matt Grice etc. are in Texas, Shorle who I think is a big boxing ref to? Seen and Met Hatley several times. I think one thing I would do is also look at the refs who are not working Judging?? They seem to have the most knowledge of the sport, or let me say I have seen good and bad refs.. But overall i think they would do a more consistant job..Thats my thoughts and we need to do something as fighters not getting what they work for is not fair to them… 


    I think most of the refs and judges in MMA are former boxing refs or judges and the 10 point scoring system also comes from boxing which I think hurts fights that go to a decision. Plus the fact that some of the states have slightly different criteria for scoring also hurts the decisions. I agree that refs and judges need additional training and I am lobbying for there to be required continuing education for MMA officials in Texas…and hopefully that will spread to other states!

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