Summer Tapasa, the former Best Buy employee who went viral after a video emerged of her tackling a would-be shoplifter, wants to become a UFC referee – and her plans have been endorsed by Dana White.
Tapasa was invited as a special guest of White to attend January’s fight between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone after which she was offered a position on the UFC’s security team, but her ambitions with the company don’t end there.
Now an official member of the UFC’s executive security team, Tapasa says that she is seeking more opportunities to further her long-term career – and says that she would be ideally suited to becoming a full-time referee, a move which she says Dana White supports.
“I chose security because I was more comfortable with it. Now that I’m in the UFC, now that I’m in the security position, I was actually thinking about becoming a referee,” Tapasa said via TMZ Sports.
Joining the list of accepted officials trusted to handle top-level UFC fights is an arduous road. A referee must first complete various courses to understand the myriad rules of the sport, after which they are expected to officiate several amateur bouts.
After that, a prospective referee is expected to apply to the various regulatory bodies which govern the sport in the United States.
If successful, the candidate will have to ‘shadow’ more experienced referees at events where they will help communicate the rules of the events to the various fighters, as well as performing tasks like inspecting the cage and collecting scorecards from cageside judges.
At this point, a candidate may be advised to purchase an officiating license.
For Tapasa, this seems like the preferred route for a career in mixed martial arts – after she said she hasn’t considered a career as a fighter.
“That thought has not came into my head, no,” Tapasa said.
“I don’t even see myself in the octagon fighting someone else. Probably just refereeing, but fighting somebody else, no, I don’t think so.”