Bobby Wombacher: 3rd Man in the Cage

Tuesday July 12, 2016 A life long fan of the sport, Bobby Wombacher’s entrance into  reffing was brought on by an injury during training at Jeremy Horns Gym in Utah. Not wanting to be sidelined and driven to continue his involvement in MMA, he attended Herb Deans classes. The rest, as they say, is history. Wombacher has now reffed in many promotions. You may recognize him from his assignments with RFA, The Clash, Bellator, King Of the Cage and Steel Fist Fight Night to name a few. He’s over seen fights in over 19 states and July 13, 2016 will step into the UFC cage for the first time. 

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During my conversation with Bobby he touched on some very interesting points that some fans may not be aware of. So check out things from the refs perspective! 
The best reffing job is one where no one remembers who the ref was. Staying out-of-the-way, but close enough to the action takes time to master. Positioning is everything. 
Any submissions that fighters can use to end a fight, refs need to know how to disengage it If it comes down to that. A good ref should train and keep up to date with the evolution of the sport. To better protect fighters when it’s up to them to stop a fight. 
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When it comes to Amateurs, most refs see it as “on the job training.” So they are more inclined to stop it sooner than a Pro fight. Besides the separate rules in place for Ammys, they also do not get paid. So to advance their skill set, learn and grow they need fights and good refs to protect them in the process. 
“I want Ammys to come back and fight again, if they take unbelievable amount of damage they aren’t going to come back.”
When it comes to the pro bouts? 
“I’ve got split seconds to make decisions. I stand by all my stoppages.” (He continues) “I tell fighters before hand when a stoppage happens please discuss it with me in the back.”
That however doesn’t discourage fighters corners from being upset. Although most fights have ended with out any dispute, pushes and shoves have happened in the heat of the moment. 
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Something many fans need to hear is refs do not care If 3 seconds are left in the round, damage is damage. 
“Time left means nothing to me. If he/she is taking too much damage I’m going to stop it. Because what happens is, they recover on the stool, go back in and take even more damage. Our sport has a pretty great safety record in the cage. It’s all about fighter safety. 3 seconds, 1 second doesn’t matter. I’ve had fighters, their corners, their wives thank me for not allowing a fight to continue, thank me for not allowing them to take more damage.”
(At a recent RFA event Bobby stopped a shot mid swing to a knocked out opponent)
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“What people do not take into consideration is the physicality of  being a ref. When a fighter goes lights out, when they come back on they are still in the moment they shut off. So they automatically re-enter the fight where they left off. “
What it breaks down to is ultimately fighter safety and long-term, I’m sure the fighters are thankful for the good refs in our sport. 
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You can follow Bobby here if your local check out a fight and watch it with him.. As long as you can handle it from the refs perspective! 
Make sure you keep an eye out for his first UFC assignments tomorrow night in South Dakota! 

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