Herb Dean Responds to Criticism of Controversial Stoppage at UFC on ESPN 14

Herb Dean is widely regarded as one of the top referees in mixed martial arts. However, at UFC on ESPN 14 over the weekend, Dean came under fire for two controversial stoppages. The most controversial came during a bout between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert.

Trinaldo rocked Herbert with a heavy punch that sent Herbert to the ground unconscious. Trinaldo then hovered over Herbert who was out on his back with his stiff arms in the air.

Dean did not immediately jump in, so Trinaldo delivered a few additional shots before the fight was stopped.

Here is the stoppage in question:

Well, now Dean is speaking out about the criticism and defending his stoppage, while also commenting on Dan Hardy, who got into a verbal altercation with Dean cageside, trying to interview with the fight.

“What I really want to get into right now is during the match someone yelled out, ‘Stop the fight,’” Dean said in a video on Instagram, as transcribed by MMAjunkie.com. “It’s really interesting because there’s only professionals there and there’s not one fan in the building. Everybody has a job there, everybody knows what their 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 taking too much damage. There’s two people who are authorized to advise me during that, to maybe yell out those words, ‘Stop the fight.’

“There’s one, the physician. We have a ringside physician who knows more about the physical body than I do. He’s there to give me advice. If he can’t get my attention maybe he might yell, ‘Stop the fight.’ Then there’s the fighter’s corner. They train with them, they know about them, they know more things about him than I do. They may know something I don’t know, so that’s why they would give me some advice to stop the fight. Ultimately to stop the fight is my decision. I don’t know who it was who did it because I was looking at the fight and and I had heard it, so I assumed it was either of the two people authorized to do it, the doctor or the corner.”

“After the match I followed up, I asked the physician he said, ‘No, that fight was fine. You were doing perfectly fine with everything you did in that match,’” Dean said. “I didn’t get a chance to ask his corner, but I asked the inspectors, who are in charge of his corner. They said, ‘No. The corner did not yell out to stop the match.’ That means it was someone else, someone else there to do a job. 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, there’s a chance you could bring in information that could do the fighter a disservice.

“I’m looking at the match, I believe I’m getting information from the people qualified to do it. Under no circumstance would I, even as a referee, get up and yell to another referee to stop the match. If I were to do that I would know there would be a situation where I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. I know there could be consequences you would never see me in that position again, but I would sleep well knowing that I’d done that.”

Ultimately, the final decision does come down to Dean and he did what he thought was best. As for the altercation with Hardy, the UFC has said it will be investigated by the promotion.

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