Marc Goddard has become one of the world’s most renowned mixed martial arts referees. The Brit has become synonymous with the UFC in recent years, refereeing world title fights and being the man in the middle for some of the biggest fights in recent memory, but long before Marc Goddard was an award winning referee, he was an acclaimed martial artist and he returned to his roots last weekend in spectacular fashion.
Goddard’s transition from fighter to referee was seamless and natural. At late notice, a then-injured Goddard was requested to act as the middleman by a promoter and he did not hesitate. As the years went by, Goddard decided to retire from actively competing as an MMA fighter having amassed a respectable record of 7-6-1 while competing against some of Britain’s best fighters. It was then that Goddard took a 7 year sabbatical from competing, but his return to competition has been quite awe inspiring. Last year Goddard, who trains under Braulio Estima, won the British No Gi Open which was impressive in its own right, but this past weekend he competed in the gi, something that he has only trained for in the last 6 months. Remarkably, he won the highly competitive tournament outright, in both his division and the absolute purple belt division.
I don’t really know what to say other than thanks. I don’t really or haven’t really done the Gi. After coming back and…
Posted by Marc Goddard on Saturday, 16 May 2015
Like Goddard, a number of UFC referees have actively competed in martial arts. Veteran referee Herb Dean competed extensively in the UK at Cage Rage, once facing Harry Potter star Dave Legeno. UK based Leon Roberts was forced to display his jiu-jitsu skills last year when an amateur fighter refused to stop hitting his opponent.
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