Herb Dean draws unfair criticism at UFC Vegas 5

I said this in my article last week, but I believe that Herb Dean is one of if not the best referee in the UFC. There is a reason the man has been the official for so many massive events.

Dan Hardy criticized Dean for a late stoppage back at UFC Fight Island 3. The two men had some verbal back and forth. Dana White came out last week and said that situations like that could never happen again.

Herb Dean found himself at the center of more controversy after UFC Vegas 5. In the main event, Derek Brunson almost finished Edmen Shahbazyan at the end of the second round.

Shahbazyan took some massive shots and Dean came close to stopping the fight. His decision to proceed drew criticism.

How I saw UFC Vegas 5

There was a lot of criticism thrown Dean’s way, but I truly believe that he made the right call last night. I fall more in line with what Michael Bisping had to say after UFC.

There were a lot of people that said Shahbazyan was out near the end of the second round. I’ve watched the tape multiple times and he was not out. He was exhausted and taking some big shots, but he wasn’t out.

Immediately after the round ended Shahbazyan got up and went to his corner. You could tell he was hurt, but he had a full minute to recover. We’ve seen fighters in the past go from being nearly finished at the end of the round to winning the fight.

Shahbazyan did look a little out of it so Dean called in the doctor just to get a second opinion on his ability to continue. The doctor approved it and the fight continued.

Of course, Brunson stormed forward and took Shahbazyan straight to the ground. After landing just two shots, Dean called a stop to the action. The stoppage was great in my opinion. Shahbazyan was not ready to continue, but I think it was okay to send him out for the third.

I understand it’s the flavor of the month to bash Herb Dean. Yes, he made a bad call at UFC Fight Island 3. However, are we just going to ignore his history as one of the best refs in MMA history?

Dean unfortunately is going to find himself under the microscope every time he refs a UFC contest for the foreseeable future. It shouldn’t be that way, but unfortunately it’s the world we live in.


UFC: Dana White on the Herb Dean – Dan Hardy situation: “That can never happen here again”

UFC, Dana White

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the referee drama from UFC Fight Island 3. Veteran official, Herb Dean, had words with former fighter and current UFC commentator, Dan Hardy.

The verbal confrontation came after Dean was slow to stop a fight. On the broadcast you could hear Hardy yell out, “Stop the fight! That’s twice now…” referring to another stoppage from earlier in the evening.

Today at the UFC Vegas 5 pre-fight media scrum, Dana White was asked about his opinion on the matter.

“We love Dan. Dan got emotional. The problem is with this setup, it’s a lot easier to do. It’s a lot easier to interact with everybody, from the fighters to the refs to the media and everybody. If you work for me in any capacity and you approach a referee or judge or an official, I will fire you that night on the spot. That can never happen here again,” White said.

UFC’s Firm Warning

Dana White and the UFC are not playing games when it comes to this. White has been very vocal in the past about fighters’ interactions with the referees.

If you need an example of how the UFC handles these kind of situations, just ask Jason High who was cut after he shoved an official after a fight. Of course, that situation was much different, but you get how serious the promotion takes these matters.

Dan Hardy has received a ton of support from the MMA community for standing up in that situation. However, White is coming from the perspective that you have to be professional no matter how strongly you feel.

The UFC does not play games when it comes to this kind of thing. I think this was a good reminder, but it’s also something that would have never taken place had we been in a normal non-COVID world.

Everyone will move on from this in the end. Dean will continue to officiate and Hardy will continue to commentate. They are both great at what they do, and this doesn’t change that. Just a heat of the moment thing that we will all move on from. You can view White’s full pre-fight press conference below.

UFC: Dan Hardy Clarifies His Feud With Herb Dean

Refereeing can get controversial in any sport. In fact, just about every sports team will have a problem with the referee and his calls at one point or another. These debates can be turned up to eleven, however, in the UFC. While a football team might just lose yards or points because of a missed call, MMA deals with fights where bad refereeing can directly result in bodily injury.

That’s the basis of former fighter and current analyst Dan Hardy’s argument against official Herb Dean, who landed himself in controversy again with a late stoppage in Francisco Trinaldo versus Jai Herbert.

The matter has split the UFC fanbase in opinion and Hardy has come out to clarify some of his positions on Instagram.

What did Hardy have to say on the issue?

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I love Mixed Martial Arts. Sometimes it doesn’t love me back though, and that’s alright. Regardless, I’ll always do everything in my power to protect it, and those dedicating themselves to it. Sometimes you may disagree with me, and that’s alright as well. I’m always going to speak my mind, and it will always be backed by what I feel in my heart. If you understand what it takes to get in there, then you understand my passion and anger when I see a fighter left unprotected. It isn’t the first time it’s happened, and twice in a night is clear negligence, in my opinion. The referees job is more important than any other person in that building. It is on their shoulders to protect fighters from getting seriously hurt when they are unable to protect themselves. You may just see UFC fighters in there, but I see friends, teammates, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, competing in the sport that they love. When I make a mistake, I look stupid on live TV. When a referee makes a mistake, people are left vulnerable and can be seriously damaged. That can be life-changing, and we all have someone to go home to, that loves us and wants us back in one piece. Thank you for all of the kind words and messages I’ve received. I am truly grateful. I’ll see you all around… ♥️ —————— 🏴‍☠️Outlaw🏴‍☠️ —————— 📸 – @jeffbottari 🙏🏼

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“If you understand what it takes to get in there, then you understand my passion and anger when I see a fighter left unprotected. It isn’t the first time it’s happened, and twice in a night is clear negligence, in my opinion,” Hardy said in his post.

“When I make a mistake, I look stupid on live TV. When a referee makes a mistake, people are left vulnerable and can be seriously damaged. That can be life-changing, and we all have someone to go home to, that loves us and wants us back in one piece,” he continued later in the post.

As a former fighter, Hardy is all too familiar with the safety risks in the sport. He retired with a 25-10-1 record and in his biggest fight took on Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight crown. His feud with Dean had some fans telling him to stick with announcing, but in a sport like this, there’s always going to be controversy around the referees.

The dispute between Dean and his critics still remains unfinished, as Dean is under investigation but no verdict was passed down yet.

UFC: What to make of the Herb Dean situation

This past weekend at UFC Fight Island 3, there was a moment of controversy involving veteran official Herb Dean. Dean was referring a fight between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert when the following happened.

What does the UFC do?

As you can see, Trinaldo completely floored Herbert for the KO. However, Dean didn’t stop the fight. Trinaldo hesitated before throwing a couple of shots that forced Dean to step in.

Former UFC fighter and commentator Dan Hardy can be heard screaming, “Stop the fight! That’s two times now!”

Let’s be clear, Herb Dean is one of if not the best official in MMA, but the stoppage was bad. Herbert was clearly out and the fight wasn’t stopped. Everyone knew he was out, but Dean saw him somewhat defending so he let it go a little. Dean offered his explanation via Instagram.

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Abu Dhabi

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There has been a ton of back and forth following this officiating call. It’s one thing when a fight gets stopped too early, but it’s another to have it stopped too late.

Dean is a human just like the rest of us so he’s bound to make a mistake. The explanation to me was a little far fetched. It would have been better if he just admitted the mistake from UFC Fight Island 3.

Hardy confronted Dean following fight. You can hear Hardy yell out to Dean, “I’ll do my job, now you do yours.”

Bottom line, it was a bad mistake. The fight was stopped late and Herbert took a couple of shots he didn’t need to. The UFC is said to be investigating the situation.