Herb Dean was the official during the controversial fight between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier on the preliminary card of UFC 211.
For those who didn’t see what went down, the former lightweight champion in Alvarez nailed Poirier with a series of illegal knee strikes to the head.
Dean would then declare the illegal knees as accidental and rule the fight a no contest. Days after the event, the longtime referee appeared on The MMA Hour to talk about why he made such a ruling and if he thinks it was the right call.
“Of course, I do,” Dean said. “I definitely stand by that, ruling it a no-contest. His head was over Poirier’s back. I can’t imagine a way where he’d be able to see his hands or his knees. I believe that he was fighting in earnest and thought that the fighter was not grounded. There’s no way I could say that for certain. I attempted to warn him before he went in with that knee, but it was loud in there and I can’t say that he heard me. I don’t believe that he was trying to fight outside of the rules when he threw that knee. I can’t say that he was.”
This is not the first controversial ruling that Dean has made in his tenure as referee, but it may be the one that draws the more ire from fans.
The referee even goes as far as to say that Poirier was playing games with the rules that were in play that night.
“I rule a downed opponent as supporting weight,” Dean said. “Obviously if someone’s weight is being supported by their feet and the fence and then they reach down and touch their fingers, there’s lots of gamesmanship that used to go on with that. So we started quite a long time ago, it’s very established, that we rule a downed opponent as supporting weight. Supporting weight means if you snatch their hand away, they’re gonna fall on their face.”
Dustin Poirier has filed an appeal with the Texas Department Of Licensing & Regulation, a ruling has yet to be announced.