By Jonathan Kirschner
As the date approaches for UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir to battle in the middle of the octagon, a referee for the bout has officially been assigned. In a meeting held on Monday, the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed that veteran MMA referee Herb Dean would be officiating the bout.
Frank Mir and Junior Dos Santos’ camps were contacted about the decision and neither party any issues with it. Herb Dean has some history with both combatants fighting in the main-event at UFC 146.
Herb Dean has been with the UFC for quite some time, and in his years there have been some brutal injuries. Ironically, two of the most iconic injuries by way of submission were caused by Frank Mir in bouts that Herb Dean officiated. At UFC 48, Frank Mir trapped Tim Sylvia in an armbar and torqued the submission so far that it was past the point of hyperextension; Frank Mir had broke Tim Sylvia’s arm. While you could hear capillaries pop and see the arm start to bend past its breaking point, Herb Dean stepped in and separated the submission before permanent damage was done. Almost exactly 8 years later at UFC 140, Frank Mir defied the odds and submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. After getting knocked goofy by the Brazilian, Mir performed a beautiful transition on the ground and ended up trapping Nogueira in a vicious kimura that snapped his arm. With Nogueira refusing to tap out and Mir mercilessly torquing the submission every second, Herb Dean had no other choice but to step in once again and call the bout.
While Junior Dos Santos hasn’t done any arm breaking in the octagon, he has been putting a world of hurt on his opponent’s brains. Herb Dean was there up-close and personal to see Junior and Shane Carwin go toe-to-toe at UFC 131. At one point in the first round, Dos Santos was blasting a turtled-up Carwin who wasn’t answering with any punches of his own. Even though he wasn’t answering with strikes, he was covering up and did keep moving. Dos Santos asked Herb Dean to put an end to the fight, but Dean refused as he believed Carwin could continue, and he did. By the end of the round, Carwin’s face was a bloody mess but he still survived and proved Herb Dean right in letting the fight continue.
Only time will tell if Herb Dean will be stopping Frank Mir from breaking another arm or pulling Dos Santos off over a motionless body in this weekend’s main event. Frank Mir and Junior Dos Santos are set to fight for the UFC Heavyweight Title this Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.