Herb Dean discusses 12-6 elbow controversy in Poirier vs. Alvarez rematch

Herb Dean

Last Saturday night, in the main event of UFC on Fox 30 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Dustin Poirier picked up one of the biggest wins of his career, stopping former champ Eddie Alvarez with a second-round volley. Unfortunately, Poirier’s win was shadowed by a bit of controversy.

Moments before Poirier poured on the offence to get the TKO, Alvarez had him in full-mount against the cage. After Alvarez grabbed the fence, clawed Poirier’s ear, and landed a 12-6 elbow — all illegal maneuvers — referee Marc Goddard stood the pair up and re-set them in the standing position.

The feeling among some fans is that Goddard should have just given Alvarez a warning and let him continue to work from guard, rather than standing the pair up, which ultimately spelled the end for Alvarez.

Speaking on The MMA Hour this week, veteran MMA referee Herb Dean discussed this controversial series of events.

“So as a referee, we have some choices,” Dean explained (transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting). “We can give warnings. We can stop the action, give a firm warning. We can stop the action and take away an advantageous position. Or we can also take away points. … Of course, if someone gained an advantage or harmed a person during an illegal technique, what we’re supposed to do is try to balance that out, we can take a point or take a position. We try to balance that out by those things.”

“What comes into play, there is some latitude on how the referee is gonna enforce the rule,” Dean continued, explaining that a referee has some freedom when making in-cage decisions. “I know we try to lock these things down with a lot of rules and procedures and mechanics, so that we can take as much of that latitude out. But I don’t agree with doing that, because each fight is its own situation and we’re gonna have to trust the referee’s discretion at some times.”

Whatever the case, Herb Dean feels, like many members of the MMA community, that the 12-6 elbow probably shouldn’t be illegal.

“I think it’s a rule that we have to look at,” Dean said. “I think it’s a rule that everybody in the sport, all the regulators [have to] look at that rule. It’s one that definitely deserves some conversation.”

“For the situation where the fight happened, I don’t think the rule really makes a lot of sense to use it there,” he continued. ”I don’t think that elbow should be any different than any other elbow.”

What do you think of these comments from Herb Dean?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/3/2018.