UCMMA Official Dan Movahedi talks to Daily Sport


(Photo: Dan Movahedi | Credit: Mark Blundell)

The Daily Sport caught up with Dan Movahedi ahead of UCMMA 37.  Dan is a family man and one of the referees at UCMMA.  We talk to him about how he got into refereeing, what he loves about UCMMA and his favourite fights to date.

Going back to the beginning, tell us how you got into the refereeing side of MMA?

I was first asked to referee by a team mate Ashley Grimshaw.  As a fighter I had MMA experience and so was asked to referee some fights and to be honest it’s all just fallen into place since then. I think the best referees have MMA fighting experience and they have a better understanding of the mind-set of a fighter and what they are going through. I referee monthly at the South’s leading MMA event UCMMA and at their white-collar event WCMMA, both finding their home at the Troxy in London.


What is the hardest part of being a referee and have you ever looked back on a fight and thought you had made the wrong decision?


Being a referee isn’t hard I love it! I love the sport, I love the people, I love everything about it.  To date no I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever looked back and thought I had made a bad decision and I don’t plan to. I’ve had fighters be unhappy about a decision I have made but that’s mostly just adrenaline. I often get a message or they will come and talk to me later and apologise. What you have to remember is that a referee makes a decision in a split second and number one priority is ensuring fighter safely.


You have refereed many, many fights on UCMMA now so can you pin point a specific favourite and tell us why?


Wow that’s a hard one, I couldn’t pick just one. I guess the two that really spring to mind are Jake Bostwick and Luke Sines at UCMMA 30 and Cory Tate and Spencer Hewitt at UCMMA 33.  With Bostwick and Sines you had 2 of the top UK Welter Weight fighters as the main event at a top European MMA event at UCMMA. It was shown on Sky Sports and refereeing it was an honour. It has to go down as one of the bloodiest fights I have refereed to date with Bostwick receiving two nasty cuts above the eyes. Yet he didn’t let that stop or distract him from the task in hand. Luke is one of the toughest and skilled fighters out there, and it was a real slugfest that went the distance. Judge’s decision saw Jake taking the win. The fans, as ever at UCMMA, were treated to a top quality fight, excellent entertainment by highly skilled warriors.  Cory Tate and Spencer Hewitt was a battle from start to finish. It ended with Tate knocking out Hewitt with an amazing left hook to win the Bantam Weight belt, proving as ever that UCMMA put on some great shows.


With the fighters concentrating on getting the job done in the cage and being so in the zone, have you ever accidentally come across a stray punch or kick?


I think every good ref has, sometimes you just have to jump in there. Hardest one I’ve taken was at UCMMA. Khalid Ismail was fighting and putting in some serious ground and pound. As I jumped in to stop the fight, he caught me on the back of the head. I guess it’s a good job I still spar in training and can take a punch.


What do you love so much about working for UCMMA?


I’m lucky enough to referee UCMMA and WCMMA every month and have taken the trip to Norwich to referee UCMMA Contender’s, I love working on UCMMA it’s a slick and well-respected event with top fighters appearing on the show. On a day-to-day level I love being involved in grass roots MMA, refereeing the local and regional shows. It is exciting seeing up and coming talent.

To finish up, can you tell us what fight you are looking forward to on UCMMA 37 either as a referee or just to watch?

Nathan jones v Ben craggy coz both guys are explosive and have the ability to finish fights. And especially because I have fought Ben before and know he is a tough cookie too.

I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helps me out, from the support from my family to the promoters who book me, not forgetting the gyms, fighters and other professionals I train, coach and work with along the way.  You can also find me on my Facebook page:


Thanks to Suzy Athey for the interview.

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