Saturday night in the preliminary card main event of UFC 211, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez stepped into the Octagon against streaking lightweight Dustin Poirier for a highly anticipated showdown.
Dustin Poirier began to land early, stunning Alvarez with hard shots throughout the first round before ultimately then rocking Alvarez in the second. Miraculously, Alvarez survived the brutal onslaught, and even managed to flip the script as he rocked Porier in the second. This unfortunately led to a sequence of events that saw a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate cut short as Alvarez unintentionally landed several illegal knees that dropped Poirier, who was deemed a ‘grounded fighter’ at the time of the knees.
Now, referee Herb Dean, who chose to call the fight a ‘No contest’ rather than disqualify Alvarez, has spoken to MMAJunkie to reflect on the controversial situation, saying:
“I would have disqualifed him if I believed they were intentional,” Dean said. “How I rule I knew that Eddie couldn’t see whether (Poirier’s) knee was down or not – that’s why I ruled it unintentional.
“There’s a lot going on in there, and that’s why (referees) give people a little bit of leeway with some of those rules. I reserve ‘intentional’ for someone acting out of the rules and being a bad guy, and they need to be disqualified. I don’t think (Alvarez) was trying to be a bad person. I think he was trying to fight within the rules – it’s just that it’s difficult.”
In regards to the possibility of Porier attempting to appeal the ‘No Contest’ in hopes of getting the win, Dean said:
“I’m not personalizing this,” Dean said. “It’s not about me – it’s about him. He’s a fighter. I’m here just trying to do a good job and serve him and the other fighters. This is about him. I don’t take that personally. He should do everything he can. If he feels he needs to appeal, I think he should do that. I don’t take it personal on me. The fight is the most important fight of their career.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2017.