Referees in mixed martial arts have a pretty hard job. They’re tasked with keeping fighters from breaking rules that span from things like grabbing the fence to soccer kicking the head of a downed opponent. They also play a huge role in every fight that finishes outside of a judge’s decision. It’s up to them to determine when a fighter is no longer intelligently defending himself and needs to be saved from the punishment being inflicted by their opponent. Get in there too early and the fans will flip their sh*t. Get in too late, and there could be serious consequences for the losing fighter’s health.
As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, sometimes referees encounter fighters who lose control and keep fighting even after the match has been called. It’s rare, but it happens. Above, Nathias Frederick drops Ahmad Aswad with a punch and then continues to attack his opponent after referee Leon Roberts waves off the fight.
Fortunately for Aswad and unfortunately for Frederick, Leon Roberts doesn’t just ref fights, he’s been training in mixed martial arts for more than 20 years. So, even though Frederick was a 155-pound ball of muscle, all it took was some slick jiu jitsu from Roberts to stop the situation from escalating. He pulled Frederick off Aswad, took his back, locked both hooks in, and put the guy in a rear naked choke. Well done protecting your fighters, Leon! And great restraint not punching Frederick in the head, even though he might have deserved it.