Referee Herb Dean found himself in the center of controversy this past weekend when the official was heavily criticized by commentators Dan Hardy and Paul Felder for an apparent late stoppage during a bout between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert.
Retired referee John McCarthy, who is now a color commentator for Bellator MMA, says that Dean was in a no-win situation this past Saturday Night.
“Jai’s really good. Really talented. Good movement, a nice smooth stand-up fighter and he did well in the clinches and stuff,” McCarthy said on the Weighing In podcast (via Christopher Taylor of BJPenn.com). “He was fighting really well. But, Jai gets hit and the shot that hits him goes off basically the top of his forehead. The top of his head and you see him go stumble back and fall the way he did. It’s like he got hit in the head with a hammer. And you know as the referee it’s one of those… It is an oddity knockdown. Not your norm. But when he falls how did he fall? He fell going backwards and was he still there? Doesn’t look like it. But, when Herb Dean sees him he comes around and he sees him fall down like this (motioning straight back) and he sees him with his hands in a position to defend himself. So Herb is thinking (Herbert) can defend himself and Trinaldo just stopped. Now Trinaldo stopped because he is a competitor, a sportsman and felt like he’s out. I shouldn’t have to hit him again. But, he has to continue on. So the fact that Trinaldo didn’t immediately go after him, makes it now where Herb really can’t stop it, in a way, because he is saying he’s in there defending himself. Could he have stopped it? He could have. But, there would have been people complaining about him stopping it. There would have been people saying ‘Oh you didn’t give him the opportunity’ to try and you know work his way out. So you’re in that can’t win.”
While Felder kept his comments to the live broadcast, a livid Hardy would confront Dean during the broadcast itself.
McCarthy also believes that Hardy’s reaction to the whole situation may have been a little skewed since Hardy is friends with Herbert.
“You know the fact that Dan Hardy is friends with Jai, likes him and watches him fight in England,” McCarthy said. “Well he got all upset because his guy took extra shots and ok. But, if Dan Hardy was the guy who got hit and went down and someone stopped it, he would be standing up like Dominick Cruz. ‘You stopped it too soon!’ Can’t win.”
The UFC is going to be investigating the situation, but no timetable has been given as to when the results of that investigation will get released.