Herb Dean discusses “early” stoppages of UFC 169 & UFC 170 main events

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion

rouseydeanHerb Dean may be the best referee in mixed martial arts. He has a great reputation and everyone seems to agree that he’s one of the best—if not the best. But that didn’t stop many fans from criticizing him in consecutive PPVs for what appeared to be early stoppages in crucial fights.

At UFC 169, he stopped the Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber bout despite Faber giving a “thumbs up” sign showing that he was weathering the storm. Then again at UFC 170, Dean made the controversial call to step in and call the Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann fight after (basically) a knee to the body. I criticized Dean for both calls—and I haven’t changed my mind.

Earlier this week, Dean appeared on The MMA Hour to discuss those stoppages. Oddly, he felt the Faber stoppage was the more questionable of the two. “My position was a good position,” he said of the Faber fight. “But was not in the correct position to see his thumb. I cannot see his thumb. The thumb is a little strange for someone in the position, usually it’s something you see in a choke. But if I had seen it I would have given him a little more time to see if he would have bettered that position.”

As for UFC 170’s main event, Rousey kneed McMann in the liver, which sent McMann to the canvas temporarily paralyzed. Just two so-so shots top the head later, Dean jumped in. “(McMann)’s landed there (on the mat) while she’s taking three or four shots to the head while still holding her stomach. I can’t think of anyone, any explanation, while someone is holding their stomach and not doing anything to deal with situation, taking shots to the shots to head, why you should let her continue? The fact of what happened after the fight (McMann standing up) has nothing to do with the situation during the fight.”

“I definitely was sure about the call,” Dean concluded.

I completely disagree. He said there were 3 or 4 shots to the face. There were 2. And they weren’t what I’d call explosive shots. And actually, the fact that she was standing up as he stopped the fight (not after the fight, as he explained), does in fact tell me he probably stepped in too soon.

Kudos to Dean for publicly talking about the two calls. It’s not very often that an official has the stones to explain himself. In other sports, the refs and umps don’t come anywhere near the media, so this is a credit to Dean and MMA. For the record, I still think both stoppages were too early, but he’s made enough great calls that I’ll give him a mulligan on these.


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