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FC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner looks on during the UFC 265 event at Toyota Center on August 07, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Hall Of Fame

Marc Ratner's Proudest Achievements

UFC Hall Of Fame Inductee Has A Deep Well Of Things To Be Proud Of

If you asked Marc Ratner his biggest accomplishments, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear about his wife, children or work for the UFC and Nevada State Athletic Commission. What you would be surprised to hear would be his storied career as a scorekeeper and referee for high school and collegiate sports.

Back when Bonanza and The Monkees ruled the airways, Ratner would first set foot on the field as a football referee.

At one time, it’s very possible that Ratner was the busiest man in Las Vegas when he was working with some of the biggest names and wildest characters in boxing history. While most of us would feel the need to go home and lay around and watch TV after that gig was done, Ratner was using his “side hustle” to elevate Nevada athletics in yet another way.

It was only a matter of time before his refereeing took him national.

“I finally got a bowl game like in 2000 or something, and that means you achieved something with your peers,” Ratner said. “It was the Independence Bowl on New Year’s Eve and that sort of validated my football career.”

Ratner would go on to referee other Bowl games before hanging up the stripes in 2006, but not before one of his proudest achievements of his professional career: the 2006 Cotton Bowl.

Marc Ratner Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame
Marc Ratner Inducted Into UFC Hall of Fame

Although it may be a touch more cut and dry than the wild world of combat sports personalities, Ratner recalls situations as intimidating as the Judah vs Mayweather in-fight brawl.

“To be refereeing a game at Notre Dame with the Leprechaun, with the 78,000-80,000 people, knowing when you’re out there and you know it’s on NBC and everything, that was an unbelievable thrill,” Ratner said. “I’ve had some amazing moments as a referee.”

Another added layer of football refereeing Ratner enjoyed was the unpredictability of the elements.

“The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, it snowed the whole game,” Ratner said. “We had famous coaches like Mississippi State’s Jackie Sherill, Texas A&M’s RC Slocum and I never saw the field; it snowed that hard. I had to pause on the sidelines just to see if I was in bounds and stuff, but the coldest I’ve ever been was wind blowing in Laramie in November with snow and flurries.”

With the Silverado High School track a comfortable distance away, staying in shape for the season was never an issue, but Ratner always appreciated a game that was played in spurts instead of consistent sprints.

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Unfortunately, as a linesman and not a main referee, you won’t find a compilation of Ratner penalty calls and, thankfully, no viral missed calls that have stood the test of time, but rest assured they would have been as theatrical as you had ever seen. This theatrical style made him addicting to watch, but was also what ultimately put a ceiling on his career.

“I went as far as I could, as high as I could go,” Ratner explained. “I didn’t have ‘the look’ to go any further. The look is I was a little awkward in the way I ran, so I stood out a little bit on film. I wasn’t as smooth, my signals were a little bit too extreme I think, my glasses, and I had a mustache. You know these referees; you don’t see them wearing glasses, they only have contacts, so I had no aspirations of going any further, but I got a bowl game, and to do three bowl games, that was my validation.

Although his refereeing days are over a decade behind him now, Ratner hasn’t forgotten a single second of it. He was brutally honest with himself about his need to step away, and while he is at peace with it all, he can’t help but miss being on the road with the rest of the referees, bound together by striped shirts and identities as the most necessary evil in every stadium.

“The camaraderie is what you love,” Ratner said with a laugh. “You’ve got seven guys traveling around, and when you’re with these guys all of the time, it’s almost like junior high.”

UFC Fightlore: Marc Ratner Coming Soon To UFC Fight Pass
UFC Fightlore: Marc Ratner Coming Soon To UFC Fight Pass

Catch Marc Ratner’s induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, Thursday, September 23 LIVE at 7:30 pm PT on UFC FIGHT PASS!