Veteran MMA referee Herb Dean defended the controversial stoppage in the Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert fight and criticized Dan Hardy for his comments.
Trinaldo dropped Herbert with an overhand left in the third round of their catchweight bout on the UFC Fight Island 3 preliminary card. Herbert fell to the mat and Trinaldo appeared to hesitate to throw strikes on the mat at his fallen foe, recognizing he was knocked out. However, Dean didn’t stop the fight right away and needed Trinaldo to land a few nasty punches on the ground before he stepped in and stopped the contest.
Hardy, the UFC color commentator and veteran MMA fighter, was critical of Dean’s apparent late stoppage and yelled at Dean to stop the fight before he did it. Hardy then got into a shouting match with the referee, with footage of that incident being caught on camera. The UFC on Sunday said they are investigating the incident.
Hardy later released a statement with his opinion on what happened, and now Herb Dean has responded. In a video posted to his Instagram, the veteran official defended his stoppage.
“There’s a fight that some people said could have been stopped earlier, think it was stopped late. By no means was that a late stoppage,” Herb Dean said (via Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com).
“Anyone who believes or not is maybe just following because someone with a microphone says it’s a (bad) stoppage. But if you know anything about fighting, a fighter got hurt, fighters get rocked all the time but we’re looking at his actions. He’s tracking his opponent. He knows where his opponent is. He’s put both arms in between him and his opponent. He’s lifted his leg up, head off the mat. He’s doing everything I can ask for him to do to stay in that fight. There wasn’t a bad stoppage.”
Dean then went on to explain why it’s dangerous for a commentator to try and influence the stoppage of a fight. He didn’t say Hardy by name, but it’s clear that’s who he meant.
“During the match, someone yelled out ‘stop the fight.’ This is really interesting because there’s only professionals there. There’s not one fan in the building. Everybody has a job there, everybody knows what they’re job is and they have specific duties. I have a job to referee the fight. One of my duties is to stop the fight when the fighter’s taken too much damage,” Dean said.
“This is a very dangerous thing to do. If you put on your Superman shirt and decide that you’re the smartest person in the room. Smarter than the physician, smarter than the corner who works with the guy and smarter than the referee, you’re doing a chance that you could bring in information that could do the fighter disservice. I’m looking at the match, I believe I’m getting information from the people qualified to do it,” continued Dean.
“Under no circumstances, even I as a referee, get up and yell and tell another referee to stop the match. If I were to do that, I would know it would be a situation where I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. I know that there could be consequences that you’d never see me in that position again but I would sleep well knowing that I did that.
“If you open your mouth and yell the words ‘stop the fight’ it could easily be mistaken for the people who are officially qualified to yell stop the fight. It should never be done.”