This paper offers a discussion of the role demands facing referees working in mixed martial arts (MMA), as well as the factors that determine their performance in managing them. To do so, it uses data derived from a qualitative, ethnographic investigation based on field observations carried out at 16 competitive MMA events, plus interviews with 7 referees, 6 of whom had extensive experience of working at the highest international levels of the sport. This data reveals several specific problems that these professionals must navigate, along with the attributes, skills and resources they identify as necessary for doing so. The paper then discusses ways in which applied sport psychology interventions can contribute towards the work of referees, particularly with respect to handling the mental demands of working in this uniquely challenging sport.
- Combat Sports
- Sport Psychology