FAQ - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. I am interested in becoming an MMA official and want to take your course. What do I need to do next?
Please send an e-mail request to info@mmareferee.com.
You will be placed on our e-mail notification list for future course dates.

2. I'm interested in taking a referee and or judging certification class, when are your next available dates?
Because John's schedule is busy and ever changing, unfortunately we are only able to announce course dates with a few weeks notice. Normally a new date is announced shortly after a class has been completed. We on average offer courses twice a year. 

3. Your next course is already full, can I send my money in to secure a spot in the next class?
With John’s schedule constantly changing, we are unable to announce future course dates until 4-5 weeks out. Because of this, we do not take registrations until we have definitive dates picked. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

4. I see that the next class is full... Can I be placed on a list if someone cancels?
We do not have a cancelation list. Because the class is non-refundable, it is highly unusual for anyone to cancel with enough notice for us to fill the spot. If there was sufficient notice, an e-mail would be sent out to everyone on the notification list.

5. It seems like the dates are posted only a few weeks prior to the actual seminar. We are coming from a long distance and are trying to plan this seminar around a vacation to CA.
John's schedule is very full and he travels on a weekly basis. We try to schedule one whenever he has a free weekend however that is not very often and unfortunately causes very short notice for the courses. We have people travel from all over the world to take the course and realize the inconvenience in having to wait until the last minute to schedule a trip. We apologize for the inconvenience.

6. Do you offer any package deal if I sign up for both a Referee and Judging Course?
Because of the small class sizes and the cost involved with putting on each course, we cannot offer any type of discounts.

7. Is your course recognized by all State/Province Athletic Commissions?
COMMAND is an ABC (Associations of Boxing Commissions) Nationally Recognized Training and Certification Schooling Program for Mixed Martial Arts Referees and Judges. While each State/Province has their own set of rules and standards, the COMMAND course is well known by most commissions and in some cases a mandatory course for their officials. Several Commissions and associations have hosted COMMAND courses including the ABC, California, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton and River Cree.

8. If I pass the course, will this ensure I get a license with my athletic commission?
The simple answer is NO! A license from a state athletic commission is not a right, it is a privilege. Many State Athletic Commissions do not have very many fights going on in their jurisdiction and therefore give out few licenses based upon the infrequent use of the officials that they do have. Even if you are the best referee or judge available to your commission does not mean that you will be given a license when you apply. This however, does not mean that you should just give up. The more knowledge you have and the more experience you can obtain will only help in building a resume that will be hard for any Executive Director to refute.

9. Do you hold any courses on the road in places other than California?
The courses are very extensive and require a team of trained personnel to make it successful. The travel costs, along with all of the on-site logistics, make it cost prohibitive in relation to the fees that are collected because we limit each course to such a small number of students. For this reason, we limit course travel strictly to Athletic Commissions where they are able to host the course and cover the travel related costs.

10. How long is your certification good for?
The Judging certification is a one-time certificate that is good indefinitely, but is recommended to be renewed every 3 years. The Referee certification works similarly with a 3-year renewal recommended and required by some commissions.  

11. After I take your course what steps should I take to get a license from my State/Province Athletic Commission?
John always tries to tell everyone that wants to be a part of MMA that they don’t necessarily need to start out in the position that they ultimately wish to end up in. The most important part is to get your foot in the door.  You may be able to start out as an inspector who stays with the athletes in the lockeroom, observes the taping of hands and walks the athlete to the ring or cage. Once you are part of the commission’s staff and you show them your knowledge and commitment to the sport, you will have an easier time moving into the job of a judge or referee. This doesn’t mean that you have to start out as an inspector, but you should be willing to start out doing anything you can to be around and prove to the commission that you are someone that is good not only for the sport, but also for your state commission.

12. What do I need to do to prepare myself for the course?
If you are not an active participant in some form of ground training (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling), we strongly suggest you print up the MMA techniques that are listed on our site and take them to a local grappling facility to have them teach you each move, explaining how they work and what body part they effect. If you are unable to do this, extensive research on the internet, in book stores and/or videos should help. However, be aware that many times the moves are shown incorrectly so you should look at more than one source before assuming it is being done correctly. 

In addition to the techniques, you should familiarize yourself with the Unified Rules listed on our site. While each state has their own adaptations to the rules, our course is based on the current Unified Rules and it is up to you to find out if your state has made any changes to them for their jurisdiction.

13. If I do not pass the first time, is there any discount to come back a second time?
Because there are limited  spacess available for each course, it is not possible for us to give any discounts on students wishing to take the course more than once. Due to the number of people involved in putting on the course, the overall cost of each one is significant. John does not teach this because of the money… The hours of work leading up to each class, in addition to the three long days of teaching, puts his hourly pay rate at less than minimum wage… All of us do this for the better of the sport and to help ensure a safer future for the fighters. We thank you for your understanding in this matter.

14. What type of pay does an MMA official make?
The pay scales vary for each state/province athletic commission. Smaller shows can pay as little as $25.00 while larger PPV shows may pay upwards of $1,200.00 for the entire night/event. Remember, in all states with an Athletic Commission, you work for the State, not the promoter. Some commissions will not even allow you to ask ahead of time what you are getting paid.

15. Would you guys be able to help me in anyway or is there anyone that you could refer me to?
We get hundreds of e-mails a month from people asking questions such as this and the simple truth is, it is impossible to personally answer every one of them. This course is our best way to reach out to the public and help both you and the sport. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to research individual training/teaching facilities in a certain area.

16. Okay, I am ready to sign up for the next course. What do I do to secure my spot?
Once a class has been announced, registration is accepted on a first received, first secured basis. To register for our judge's course click here and for our referee's course click here. Your spot will be reserved as soon as payment is received via our secure electronic payment system.

17. I'm interested in becoming certified as an official in MMA; however, in order to prepare myself with proper knowledge (verbiage and technique), do you offer any books, online info or videos that are helpful in preparing oneself for such examination?
Unfortunately we do not have any type of pre-study materials, mainly because the course is so hands on.  As listed on our website, you must be very familiar with all of the techniques listed. We always suggest going to a local jiu-jitsu school and either participate, take private lessons where you can ask them to teach you each technique or at least watch what is going on and ask lots of questions.  You can also download the Unified Rules and study them, as they are a big part of the course.

18. The information on your website says we should be familiar with all the takedowns and holds and there is a huge list of all those techniques. Do you have any link to any videos that demonstrate those techniques in order for me to study in preparation for the next class?
Unfortunately there is no video at the present time that demonstrates all the moves. John stresses to everyone that we are not here to teach people about grappling, we are strictly here to teach you about how to be a proficient official... The knowledge base needed to become a proficient official can only come from getting yourself into a local grappling school and either watching or actually participating in it yourself so you can understand how the holds and positions work.

19. What if I'm a MMA Super FAN that wants to get involved?  
For those avid MMA Fans that are interested in the sport, you are welcome to participate with a goal of a participation certificate via a MMA Fantasy Camp experience.   The goal for you will be to learn and experience situations and live simulations as refs and judges with live feedback and real professional fighters.