On Saturday night, on the main card of UFC 235, former ONE Championship and Bellator titleholder Ben Askren finally made his UFC debut, taking on the extremely dangerous Robbie Lawler.
Although Askren very nearly found himself on the receiving end of a first-round TKO, he ultimately weathered this early storm from Lawler and submitted the former UFC champion with a bulldog choke later in the round.
Unfortunately, the instant replay revealed that Robbie Lawler probably wasn’t unconcious, and that referee Herb Dean most likely intervened prematurely.
Speaking on Twitter in the wake of UFC 235, veteran MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy gave his take on the controversial stoppage in the Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren fight.
The veteran ref kept it brief, but left no doubt about his opinion on the issue.
“Obviously not,” he responded when asked by a fan if Herb Dean made the right call. “We are all human and we all make mistakes.”
While a significant portion of the MMA community feel that Dean intervened too early, Robbie Lawler certainly doesn’t seem stressed about the ordeal.
“Shit happens in there,” Lawler said at the post-fight press conference (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Sometimes there’s mistakes being made. Herb checked on me and when he checked on me I gave him a thumbs up and he came in there. I couldn’t hear him talking because of how the choke was on. My head was on [Askren’s] body on this side and his arm was over here, so I couldn’t hear him talking. And I’m not gonna just dangle a hand there, so I just put it down and when he checked I gave him the thumbs up and looked right at him I was like, ‘Hey man. F*ck. I’m good.’
“It happens. He’s a hell of a ref, he just made mistake.”
“You know I don’t make excuses,” he concluded. “I just kind of roll with the punches and try to be positive about the whole situation. I’d like to run it back. It is what it is. I just don’t like making excuses even if shit doesn’t — if stuff like that happens, whatever.”
What did you think of the stoppage in the UFC 235 fight between Robbie Lawler and Ben Askren?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/3/2019.