Former UFC welterweight contender turned fight analyst Dan Hardy has tried to clear up confusion surrounding his confrontation with Herb Dean at UFC Fight Island 3. Hardy, who was working the desk on July 25 loudly criticized Dean’s late stoppage of Francisco Trinaldo’s knockout win over Jai Herbert – something the veteran referee took issue with.

Speaking to MMA Junkie Hardy looked to end the ongoing confusion that surrounds his altercation with Dean and comments made by UFC president Dana White soon after that referred to his employees approaching fight officials.

“Yeah, but I feel like there’s a lot of confusion around this still. I kind of put it out of my mind. It became so frustratingly irritating that people didn’t have the right information.”

“(Dean) came over to me and spoke to me at the desk. (White saying), ‘You can never approach an official.’ That was not aimed at me. I’m not taking that as being aimed at me in any way. That was, to me, related to the fight the following week at UAE Warriors where one of the fighters wouldn’t let go of the choke and then pushed Marc Goddard, who was the official on that night. It was a bit of a mix of a reply from Dana at the press conference. That, to me, was what he was replying to. I didn’t approach an official.”

Hardy has since had words with the UFC brass who have told him to tone down his ringside antics when calling future fights.

“I’ve spoken to the UFC about it,” Hardy said. “They don’t want me shouting at the officials on the broadcast. That was my feedback from it. At the same time, I don’t want to be put in a position where an official isn’t doing their job. … I just want accountability. That’s all I want. We’re in a sport where people can get seriously hurt – permanently seriously hurt.”

‘The Outlaw’ has great respect for Dean who he maintains is a “good referee,” someone he is more than willing to sit down and discuss the situation with.

“Herb has refereed me a couple of times,” Hardy said. “I’ve always respected him as a highly experienced official. There’s no denying he’s a good referee. There’s also no denying that he’s human, and people do make mistakes. We don’t grow unless we take accountability for those mistakes. That’s all it was about. I have nothing against Herb. If he wants a conversation with me about it, I will have one in private or in public. He can come on the podcast, and I’ll discuss it with him on record. There are lots of things we can all learn from it.”

Hardy says he will remain an advocate for fighter safety and call out bad refereeing when he see’s it despite the UFC bosses warning against it.

“Ultimately, I’m just trying to make the sport better for everybody involved and make sure we keep in the mainstream, because we clawed and fought our way to get here,” Hardy said. “When I was fighting for a world title, it wasn’t about the fight. It was about why ‘human cockfighting’ was on TV. I got sick of having those conversations. I don’t want to go through all that ground again, because we’ve covered so much ground. But nonchalant attitudes toward refereeing is going to get us back there, and that’s what I’m trying to prevent.”

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A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.