UFC fighter goes after ‘worst referee of all time’

UFC fighter Renato Moicano goes deep into the career of MMA referee Chris Tognoni.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 months ago

Following this weekend’s controversial main event at Noche UFC where the Alexa Grasso vs Valentina Shevchenko 2 headlining title fight was ruled a split draw due in part to an inexplicable 10-8 round scored by judge Mike Bell, MMA judges have been getting a lot of heat. But let’s not forget the other scapegoat of the sport: the humble referee.

UFC veteran Renate Moicano names names

April 14, 2023: Sometime UFC Referee Chris Tognoni checks on Welterweight Ben Egli (L) at the conclusion of the PFL 3 Regular Season Fight Night at The Theater inside the Virgin Hotel on April 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV. CSM. Las Vegas United States of America
IMAGO | ZUMA WIRE by Christopher Trim

Ten-year, fourteen-fight Octagon veteran Renate Moicano has dropped a new YouTube video and he’s not afraid to name names and bring receipts. Most specifically he calls out referee Chris Tognoni whom he labels “the worst UFC referee of all-time” and accuses Tognoni of “wrong TKOs, fence grabbing, eye pokes, you name it.”

As Moicano says in the video description, “With a track record marked by questionable calls and critical errors, Tognoni’s decisions have left a lasting impact on some pivotal UFC matchups.”

That’s one way to put it.

Don’t worry, this isn’t personal. Moicano is sure to say he has nothing personal against Tognoni despite his claim that Tognoni made an early stoppage in his UFC 256 loss to Rafael Fiziev. But let’s get to the list.

Moicano starts the video with a notorious example that had everyone talking from Dana White on down. We’re talking about Ed Herman’s controversial win over Mike Rodriguez. This is such a notorious example that Dana actually gave Rodriguez the win money.

Chris Tognoni reffing Herman vs Rodriguez at UFC Vegas

Here’s what Moicano has to say about it:

“Eddie Herman won the fight by submission in the Round two. But what you don’t know if you didn’t watch the fight was Rodriguez should have won the fight by TKO. In the second round there was clearly a legal shot to the body. Chris Tognoni was up there watching the action and was easily a legal shot. But guess what?

“He stopped the fight and he called it a low blow. And guess what? He kept the fight going and Rodriguez lost in the third round by submission.

“And the guy lost on the third round. So how crazy is that? This is a disgrace for the sport, my brother, because this guy was robbed of his victory.”

‘The cheapest, most dirtiest fight that I ever see’

UFC Referee Chris Tognoni slapping a fighter's hand as he grabs the cage.

Among the Tognoni reffed fights that Moicano zeros in on is one he calls “the cheapest, most dirtiest fight I ever see.”

Moicano’s referring to the UFC Vegas 19 bout between Nassourdine Imavov and Phil Hawes from February 2021.

“The crazy thing about that fight was that both fighters are committing fouls all the time,” Moicano says before detailing a long series of fence grabs, glove grabs, eye pokes none of which resulted in sanction from our man Tognoni.

“He was all the time slapping the hands, showing that they were doing wrong,” Moicano says. “But guess what? No action was taken. He should have (done something) the second time or the third time. Separate the fighters. You cannot let the fighters keep doing the wrong thing, keeping grabbing the fence or even eye poking. You know, you have to be straight away. When they start to do that, you have to keep the fight clean, force, warn them, and the second time they do that, took to a point my brother, because otherwise they will keep you doing that.”

Check out the whole video to see the other five fights reffed by Tognoni because Renate pulls no punches.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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