Marc Goddard gives technical insight on MMA and Mayweather vs. McGregor on Sky Sports

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Veteran MMA referee Marc Goddard was invited to appear on Sky Sports News to highlight some of the regulatory aspects of mixed martial arts in addition to discussing factors of the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor superfight on August 26 that sees McGregor, a two-weight MMA world champion in the UFC, transitioning to compete as a boxer against the 49-0 icon, Mayweather.

In addition to his lifelong work in becoming a renowned UFC official, Marc Goddard has been a committed technical adviser and representative of IMMAF, serving as a member of the Technical Committee. Since 2015 he has worked towards establishing the certification of referees and judges worldwide by developing and hosting IMMAF’s official certification courses.

Discussing the stringency of professional MMA rules and the referees involvement compared to that of boxing, Goddard explained: “Fighters operate under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, there are 28 different listed fouls that are not permissible, [MMA] is anything but no-holds-barred.

“In the art of boxing – pugilism – I use my hands and that’s all I’m allowed to use (as a fighter). In mixed martial arts we can punch, kick, knee, clinch, wrestle; when it goes to the floor it then becomes a jiu jitsu match, that’s why it’s called mixed martial arts. An MMA referee will have a lot more to look out for whereas in the standing position, a boxing referee will just let them box, but there’s certainly no more influence (from the referee) in one discipline over the other.”

Under IMMAF amateur rules, knees to the head of an opponent are prohibited in addition to the use of elbows and select submission maneuvers such as heel-hooks.

When discussing the unprecedented Mayweather vs. McGregor bout, set to take place this Saturday in Las Vegas, USA, Goddard dispelled the suggestion that a boxing referee would show a home field bias towards Mayweather. The Sky Sports broadcast played highlights from 2007 where referee Joe Cortez was accused of allowing Mayweather to clinch excessively in his bout with Ricky Hatton.

Goddard answered, “At the end of the day this is a boxing match and this fight will be contested under boxing rules. Fighting on the inside is allowed, but when there’s any clinch or holding, that’s the job of the referee (to separate the athletes). You certainly can’t fight like that and you can’t hit when you’re holding and clinching either.”

The NSAC has since approved the controversial glove switch that allows the bout to be contested with 8oz mitts as opposed to 10oz which is the standard size for boxing matches contested over the 147lb mark. Professional MMA bouts are decided with athletes donning 4oz gloves while IMMAF championships feature the much larger 7oz amateur glove design.

“I think that the punching power is  with McGregor, not Mayweather. I think where it does come into play (the glove size) is the physical size of the glove. Boxers learn how to be defensive and hide using the glove and its size. If you compare that to a normal MMA glove, MMA fighters don’t have that luxury. I think that if it was going to favor anybody, you’d probably say McGregor. The bigger the glove, the bigger the shield to hide behind.”

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