3 of the best MMA referees, and 1 of the worst

A quick look at one of the toughest jobs in MMA and some of the people who do it
Jul 6, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) punches Ben Askren (blue gloves) as
Jul 6, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) punches Ben Askren (blue gloves) as / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the best MMA referees, Jason Herzog

If the UFC gave superlative awards every year, Jason Herzog would be named "most excited to come to work". No one standing as the third person in the Octagon appears more stoked to be locked in a cage with two people looking to render the other unconscious than Herzog.

His name recognition amongst fans is at the top with Herb Dean and he might even be considered the "people's referee". A veteran referee of more than 800 fights, he is also a student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Justin Flores.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Herzog is his work life - personal life balance. An online search for Herzog is devoid of many details of his personal life, but he has a social media presence on Instagram and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Herzog even replies to posts about his performance as a referee, both good and bad. His willingness to interact and offer input on hot topics in the MMA space are part of what make him so popular amongst fans.

Respect also seems to follow Herzog over to the fighters with controversies being few and far between.

Paulo Costa previously took issue with Herzog over a point deduction he was on the receiving end of in a 2020 fight versus Israel Adesanya due to an eye poke without receiving a warning. While Costa's frustration is his own, Herzog was under no obligation to issue a warning for the foul and if he believed it impacted the fight significantly, the point deduction was warranted.

Herzog's most notable controversy was a stoppage between Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira, where Smith took extensive damage before Herzog stopped the fight in the fifth round. Smith initially defended Herzog for letting the fight continue, but was disappointed to learn Herzog had acknowledged the fight had gone too far on social media.

Herzog's willingness to introspectively evaluate his performance shows his dedication to the fans, the sport, and most importantly, the fighters.