State offers MMA, boxing fans train to be referees, judges

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July 21 – Not everyone is fit to step into the ring or the octagon to compete.

But the growing interest in mixed martial arts competitions and boxing’s enduring legacy mean that sports also need judges and referees.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation’s Combative Sports program is offering in-person classes in Austin next month for MMA and boxing fans that will put them on the path to becoming a licensed referee or judge in both sports.

“The way they set it up, the Saturday and Sunday classes, if you take them both, you would have training in judging for MMA and boxing, and refereeing for MMA and boxing “said Tela Mange, public information officer for TDLR. “People interested in becoming judges or referees, when they are in the course, let the TDLR staff who will be there know that it is something they want to pursue.

“For MMA, we let them do shadow-judging and do extra training if they want to do refereeing,” she added. “We would assess their background and what else they have done and how familiar they are with the sport.”

Mange stressed that attending the classes is only the beginning of the journey and that no referee or judging license will be granted to the participants.

“We would put them on the path to getting a license,” she said. “For boxing, before they can get a judge’s license or a referee’s license, they would have to take that course and then have experience in the amateur ranks,” she said. “So they would get involved with USA Boxing and do judging or officiating with them, and gain experience before they could get a license with TDLR.”

Each of the classes lasts four hours, and Mange said many people stay for double sessions, which means the roles of boxing judge and referee, and MMA judge and referee, are covered by following classes on Saturday and Sunday.

“People taking the courses are responsible for their own hotel reservations,” she said. Each course is limited to 30 participants.

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