Being a referee is commonly known as a thankless job. You have to make hard decisions in the heat of the moment that can have huge ramifications on not only a fighter's career trajectory, but occasionally on the sport as a whole.
In essence, you have to act as though you don't exist until you are needed to prevent a fighter suffering further injury and to enforce the rules. However, there are certain times a referee steals the limelight from the fighters they watch and end up in the headlines themselves.
This is never for doing a good job, because a referee doing a decent job isn't all that interesting. Instead, it's the juicy moments when they decide to go completely off-script and make you question what you just witnessed onscreen that grabs the top billing of MMA news outlets.
2019 was actually a rather good year for MMA referees as the training they receive improves, and the rules are better understood and unified across the world. As always though, there were also wildly crazy choices made across the past 365 days that sent UFC fans into frenzies this year - which we'll get right into.