The UFC will investigate an on-air confrontation between referee Herb Dean and commentator Dan Hardy, which occured at UFC Fight Island 3 on Saturday.
The controversy occurred in a lightweight contest between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert. In the third round, Trinaldo leveled Herbert with an overhand left. The impact clearly left Herbert unconcious, but Dean neglected to stop the action, leaving Trinaldo to land two additional and concussive strikes.
Hardy, a former fighter, was furious about Dean’s delay in stopping the fight, and could be heard screaming at the referee from his seat at the broadcast booth. Shortly thereafter, he confronted Dean at cage-side.
“I’m doing my job, now you do yours!” Hardy could be heard saying to Dean. “Gotta look out for these fighters. My goodness!”
Speaking at the UFC Fight Island 3 post-fight press conference, UFC Senior VP David Shaw opened up on this incident, divulging that the promotion will look into it.
“I wasn’t on the floor when it happened,” Shaw said of this incident between Dean and Hardy (via MMA Junkie). “I did hear some of the comments on the broadcast. Here’s the thing, being a ref in MMA is one of the hardest roles that you can have, and Herb Dean is one of our best, categorically. (The) bottom line is, health and safety of the athletes is of paramount importance. On the other side, you’ve got a guy like Hardy who, very successful MMA career, an excellent analyst right now, but he’s passionate and he’s fiery.
“The important thing for us to do is to try and get a handle and try to get an understanding of what actually happened,” Shaw added. “Obviously, this is not something that you address with either one of the parties during the show. These guys have a job to do and so we certainly don’t want to disrupt their efforts to do an excellent job, as we expect they always will. So we’ll go back, we’ll check it out, try to get a better understanding of what happened and really take it from there.”
Shaw continued, seemingly implying that Hardy perhaps overstepped by interacting with an official from the broadcast booth.
“I guess the bottom line is there’s one group of people that are able to talk to officials during the fight night, and that’s (Marc) Ratner’s regulatory group, and no one else,” Shaw said. “So we’ll see what happens next week when we get back to the office.”
Dan Hardy, for his part, has already issued a statement on this squabble with Dean, which you can read here.
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