Dana White: Faber Was Blocking Those Shots, Herb Dean Made A Mistake


Urijah Faber was unfortunate to become runner up to Renan Barao in the fashion that he did at UFC 169. The bout was nowhere near as close as the first meeting between the two, and ‘Baron’ walked away scratch free after an early TKO. It wasn’t all that simple though, as the stoppage looked to be rather premature.

Referee Herb Dean appeared to respond more to Barao’s appeal to get the finish, rather than the fact that ‘The California Kid’ seemed to be OK. UFC president Dana White weighed in on the matter at the event’s post fight presser:

“You know you’ve heard me up here a million times talk about Herb Dean — I think he’s the best referee in the business,” white said. “He rarely ever makes mistakes, but he made a mistake tonight. Faber was blocking those shots, he gave the thumb’s up. You know, the guy’s the best in the business as far as I’m concerned. Tonight he made a mistake.”

I have to agree that Dean was a little early on the stoppage, but I’d prefer that as opposed to some of the atrocious beatings that some fighters are allowed to take. Faber, of course, responded to the situation like a total boss:

“This is the sport we’re in,” Faber said. “It’s funny, Herb Dean was the referee when I lost my first fight against Tyson Griffin. I did like a cage-dive into a steel bar and I ended up getting seven staples in my head in the first eight seconds. I almost got knocked out like two or three times, and he let me fight through it all. You know?”

“I’ve had wrestling matches where I’ve been dazed before and had to do four or five matches in the same day. So it’s unfortunate, being a guy that’s very tough that prides myself on that, in a big show like the one we had today where I don’t get to fight to the bitter end.”

Faber is a relentlessly tough dude, which makes the fact that Barao was able to drop him that much more impressive. So where does the former WEC boss go from here, after taking a huge title fight on three weeks notice? Well, it’s back to the grind at Team Alpha Male for Faber, and don’t be at all surprised if he is fighting for a title again soon.

“Again, it’s not a situation where I can ask for an immediate rematch or anything like that, so I’m just going to get back on the horse…and work my way towards being champion again.”

Its good to see that Faber is looking forward, and I’m sure we will get to see him holding a UFC belt one day.

  • I agree the fight was stopped at a bad time. From what I've read and seen on InsideMMA referee edition and in videos online laying with your hand blocking your head just taking shots is not intelligently defending yourself. When Herb told him to do something I don't think he was looking for a thumbs up. I get you couldn't "jump up and yell Herb I'm ok" but would have moving AT ALL hurt? shift your body in any way? He literally didn't move his body at all. After being rocked 3 times in a minute and a half factors into Herbs decision. It's not like they fell to the ground and Barao was just hitting him. He rocked him hard and after that Faber didn't block 1 strike standing up. He couldn't even move his hands to block a jab after being rocked the 1rst time. he was HURT

    • D

      The bottom line is, he was taking hammer fists to the shoulder when the fight was stopped, not straight rights to the jaw.

      • No the bottom line is he was taking hammer fists while doing absolutely nothing to try and move after he took some serious bombs and was hurt a few times.

        • Bottom line was it was for a few seconds and Fabers legs were being tucked under him to explode. You think nothing was happening but watch and you will see his legs and sure he waited a few seconds to make his move. He wasn't there like Brock Lesnar for 2 minutes taking shots to the head, he was taking shots to the gloves and he has come back from way worse stuff than that.

  • Herb made a mistake but Barao pulled the age old trick of looking up and saying " Hey look he's out, stop the fight" just like Penn did vs Sherk and a few other veteran fighters and honestly the pressure seemed to get to Dean. Barao was going to punch him self out and that's why he called for the stoppage and Dean fell for it.

    Nothing compares to the Penn fight. He actually waived the fight off at the end off the round and did it to the Ref and the ref actually obliged. Most amazing thing I've ever seen.

  • this was a legit stoppage. after he was tagged and dropped 3 times in 90 seconds i would have stopped it too. although i dont think barao should have propositioned herb dean. still there was nothing wrong with this stoppage.

    • Absolutely not, being dropped is nothing if the guy is recovered.

  • Well, Urijah was obviously okay. When Dean stopped the fight, he was in no way hurt or out of it, cut, bleeding or bruised.

    That said, he sat there and didn't move; thumbs up or no thumbs up. And I'd tell Urijah all day long, thumbs up works for a submissions' situation, but no a G 'n P situation. It looked bad (even if it wasn't) and Faber wasn't attempting to scramble or do anything. He simply turtled up.

    Perhaps the thought was he was thinking 'well, I'm not being hurt…think I'll let Barao burn some energy.' If so, it's a reasonable thought and fans have seen that strategy work before, but it's a risk that the ref is going to step in and stop it. Faber took that gamble and he lost.

    Yes, I think it was early in the sense that Faber wasn't hurt; as it turns out. However, I can more than understand why Dean did step in. As fighter safety is always the preeminent goal of the referee and as Dean would have had no way of knowing for sure that Faber was okay, he stepped in and did the right thing. It's a crappy way for the fight to end, but Faber really only has himself to blame. He should have been scrambling or changed his position at least once; something to not only let Dean know he was okay, but also to change the perception of him being beaten and without response or defense.

    Most times when a fight is 'looking' ugly, the ref is going to stop it. As they should. Too bad for Urijah; lesson learned, I'm sure.

    • I agree he could have been trying to shake out the cobwebs and let him burn his arms out in the process but Barao's shots weren't really hard. He was 1 step from Roy Nelson babypunch and counting. I don't think it's reasonable to think he was gonna burn out Barao from those. Also, like I said when you're rocked and dropped 3 times taking even those punches looked terrible. He literally just stayed still. Not even a single muscle movement.

      • Then I think it's also reasonable that Faber was capable of coming back if those punches were so fragile.

    • Faber was not doing nothing and he was only given a few seconds in that position. He tucked his legs under himself while being punched to explode and he was not given any time to think. Brock had like 2 minutes of being pounded out only kicking out 1 or 2 times just to show life. Faber was given like 5 seconds and he is far more durable than Brock.

  • Faber had got rocked twice in about 30 seconds and the 'thumbs up', even if it could have been seen, hardly counts as intelligent defense.

    Did Herb stop the fight too soon? Yes. But really, an experienced fighter should known that,after getting dropped, just grabbing a leg wouldn't be enough.

    • I agree with that but he was given maybe 5 seconds while only being hit on the gloves with rabbit punches. Herb should have known Faber can take more than that considering his other fights reffing Faber.