(EDITOR'S NOTE: During the weekly "Ask the Commission" feature, Matt Schowalter or someone else from the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission will tackle your questions. If you have questions for the commission, send them to
This past June I received an email from someone who was looking to get licensed as a referee in Minnesota. After giving him the usual rundown on what he needs to do to get licensed, he informed me that not only does he have extensive experience as a referee, but he's also one of eight people in the world who's been approved by the Association of Boxing Commissions to conduct MMA referee training AND he's reffed multiple UFC and Bellator events.
This news was bittersweet to me. I was excited to learn that a top-notch referee had moved to Minnesota, but my past experience told me it was too good to be true. Most referees with his experience come with a huge price tag that our promoters just can't afford, and when I've contacted some of those approved trainers to put on a training session in Minnesota, they've wanted a lot of money up front that ended up being passed on to the attendees and a guaranteed minimum number of attendees.
After sharing my concerns with him, he informed me that he loves to ref and train new referees. He loves it so much that he doesn't want to get paid any more than what the local guys make, and he'll do the training at a very minimal cost with no guaranteed minimum.
After a few brief conversations, Marc Fennell was licensed to be a referee in Minnesota, and we set up his first training seminar.
The MMA referee training seminar will take place Aug. 23 through Aug. 24 at McCune's Martial Arts in Brooklyn Park and cost $50. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. It should be noted that Fennell's training is