Tim Donaghy is a well-known name in NBA circles as he was a former referee for the National Basketball Association. While referees normally don’t become household names, Donaghy’s did as in 2007 the FBI investigated him for betting on games he officiated and purposely affecting the point spread in those games with the calls he made.
He pleaded guilty to gambling charges and spent nearly 15 months in prison. Since he was blackballed from the NBA and essentially all major sports leagues, Donaghy needed to find a new sports outlet and that’s apparently pro wrestling. The disgraced former referee popped up in MLW this week where he unsurprisingly portrayed a corrupt referee.
Forbes’ Alfred Konuwa caught up with Donaghy and asked him about that NBA betting scandal that had him imprisoned for over a year.
“I’m just at a point now where I’m comfortable and I think the whole scandal is pretty much behind me, and for the first time in a long time I’m feeling good about where I’m at,” said Donaghy who now, appropriately, runs a gaming website called Refpicks.com.
We’ve seen a couple of wrestlers transition from the basketball court to the ring including Kevin Nash, Big Show and Omos. But there isn’t a long history of former basketball refs then becoming wrestling referees. Donaghy compared the two and explained why his job isn’t that much different in a ring.
“It’s very similar, it’s a form of entertainment. As a referee, your job is to make the athletes look good in any way you need to do that, and with that being said it’s very similar in a lot of ways,” stated Donaghy.
In his MLW debut, Donaghy was the special guest referee for a Caribbean Strap Match between Savio Vega and Richard Holliday. As Vega attempted to touch all four corners in order to win the match, Donaghy was up to his old tricks by obstructing Vega to assist the heel, Holiday.
That enabled Holliday to win the match and retain his IWA/MLW Caribbean Championship and the champ exited to the back side-by-side with the disgraced ref. Donaghy discussed his MLW debut.
“I really enjoyed myself, I went down to Orlando and met a lot of the guys, and they were very receptive to me being a part of the show. We had a lot of fun and I think you’ll see that in a lot of scenes that we did in and out of the arena of the wrestling match,” teased Donaghy. “We did some things outside of that, and I think you’re going to find it to be somewhat entertaining and funny and I really enjoyed myself.”
Donaghy went on to note that he intends to become a full-time referee with MLW.