Herb Dean gives his expert opinion on the Gegard Mousasi vs. Chris Weidman stoppage
Surging UFC middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi scored a controversial second-round TKO victory over former division champion Chris Weidman at this past weekend’s UFC 210 event in Buffalo, New York.
Mousasi caught Weidman with a pair of knees following the midway point of the second round that had the former champion in a world of hurt. Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in and put a stop to the action following the second knee from Mousasi, as he believed that both of Weidman’s hands were on the floor, thus making the strike illegal.
However, upon viewing the replay it was clear to see that Weidman had actually lifted both of his hands off of the canvas just micro-seconds before getting hit by the second knee from Mousasi, meaning the strike was in fact legal.
After some major in cage confusion, the referee stepped forward and waved off the contest announcing Gegard Mousasi the winner via technical knockout.
In a recent interview with Luke Thomas, veteran referee Herb Dean shared his take on the Mousasi vs. Weidman stoppage while explaining how referee polling played a part in the decision.
“Ok so first of all let me start this off by saying that Dan Miragliotta is a very good referee and he is one of the most experienced and whenever I see him in there (the octagon) I feel confident that things are going to go well.”
What went wrong and what do we have to get right?
“I believe that he (Dan Miragliotta) had a difficult situation. Because ok as far as for refereeing is concerned position is one of the things you might have to focus on first. You have to be in a good position to see something and be in a good position to intervene. That position is not stagnant, that is why we are always moving around because we are trying to stay in a good position. And the fighters are moving and doing things that, well, they are moving around to so we have to adjust and we are not always in position. We are trying to adjust to be in position most of the time. So the call that happened is a very difficult call, a grounded opponent. The way I like to enforce that rule is I tell the fighters that I am calling supporting weight. Even when it was the old rule of one hand or now two hands, I’m not sure why it was changed one (hand) was good enough for me, but the bottom line what I am looking for is it supporting weight. Not just touching. And that is what I call. So I believe that, I would like to think that I would not have called that (Mousasi’s knee on Weidman) as a grounded opponent. The reason why I say I would like to think that is because when you’re in there in that moment, trying to make sure you are in a good position, the worst position to be in is when everything is in a straight line. There is three points in there right. There is the two fighters and yourself. So you want to make a triangle basically. And that is the best position so anytime you are in a straight line that is the worst position. And as they move (the fighters) sometimes you get caught in that position. So I would like to think that I would have been in a good position to see what was going on so that I could call it as not a grounded opponent and then we wouldn’t have had any problems to begin with. So that is the first thing. I think even if Dan had called it that way a bunch of people would have had things to say but I think I would have felt good about that (call).”
Luke asked Herb how it was possible for a company as big as the UFC to not have instant replay at events and even worse why the NYSAC would not allow for instant replay to be utilized.
“Yeah that is a question I have there to, you know why they chose not to do that. I don’t know, I haven’t talked to them about it. I spoke to them a few times but I actually haven’t worked for the New York State. They called me once but I had another date so I haven’t actually worked there yet. But I believe that they (the UFC) should use instant replay. But what happened was, even without instant replay, you know there is in a lot of ways that people use replay. There is some states where replay isn’t in use and what we use kind of what is in place is polling. And polling is in place there (New York). So that is how they came to the decision I think. I believe Miragliotta polled another official. I believe it was Big John (McCarthy).”
Luke asked Herb Dean if John McCarthy was actually allowed to give his opinion to Dan Miragliotta as it obviously had a huge effect on the decision.
“Well it is called polling. So it has always been in place with boxing even before MMA was around. If the official or referee was not in a good position to see if it (the strike) was a foul, he can use polling to determine if it was a fair or a foul blow. So yes he can pull the other officials. If he didn’t see it. So the way you do it is you don’t ask everyone and everyone weighs in on it. What you do is you ask the other officials ‘Did you see what happened?’ and then say the first guys says ‘No I didn’t’. Then you ask the second and he says ‘Yes I did, it happened right in front of me’. He then explains what happened (what he witnessed) and that is what you go with.”
Luke asked Herb if he had ever used polling in a bout.
“Yes. I can’t think of an example but I have used it.”
Luke asked Herb if when Dan walked back to Chris Weidman in the cage and told him that the knees were in fact legal if that was Miragliotta ‘reversing’ the call.
“Well what it is – is that he (Dan) thought the strike was foul. So he stopped the fight because he thought that there was a foul and then information came to him that it (the strike) was not a foul and that it was a fair blow.”
With that said, Luke then questioned Herb if Weidman had five minutes to recover do to technicalities.
“Well that is, you don’t actually have five, you have up to five minutes to recover. And that is decided, with a situation like that, that is decided by the referee and the doctor together. And usually the doctor’s opinion is definitely going to weigh in more on that. Especially with a strike to the head. Say someone has been hit to the head, whether it is a fair or foul blow, you want to give him time to recover. But if after a couple of minutes the guy says ‘I am seeing double’ and whatnot then of course you are not going to give him more time because he needs medical attention at that time and that is why you have the doctor there to decide that. So that is the doctor’s discretion. A fighter can’t say ‘Ok give me my five’. If you aren’t ready to fight yet after a couple of minutes due to a strike to the head, then we are going to take care of you. So all fouls have up to five minutes but it is at the discretion of the referee and the doctor. The only situation where a fighter has five minutes that he can decide things is on a strike to the groin. I guess that rule is that way because nobody wants to say that they know more about somebody else’s groin then that person does. You are the own expert of your groin.”
Luke asked Herb if he felt it was the right decision for the physicians to call off the fight based on how Weidman was reacting to the in-ring tests.
“Yes I think it was the right decision.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com April 10/2017