One of the premier referees in the sport of mixed martial arts, Herb Dean, has been facing some harsh criticism over his late stoppages at UFC Fight Island 3. He refereed four fights this past Saturday, but the two that ended via strikes were stopped very late. Dan Hardy started yelling at him over the commentary immediately following the Francisco Trinaldo versus Jai Herbert fight. Many have criticized Hardy for not being more controlled in the moment, and others think he was in the right to voice how he, and many others felt. Watch the two stoppages, and continue reading to form your own opinion on the matter.

Herb Dean quickly made a video to respond to his critics, and stated the following:

“Last night I got to referee some fights. One fight in general, there’s a great situation I definitely want to go over and talk to you guys about. There’s a fight that some people say could’ve been stopped earlier, (they) think it was stopped late, by no means was that a late stoppage. But I’ll go into that later, I’m gonna maybe do another video and break that down and give you more information on it. Like I told you, I’m gonna start giving you guys a little bit more insight into how we make our decisions and our process.

“But what I really wanna get into right now is during the match, someone yelled out ‘stop the fight’. This was really interesting because there’s only professionals there. There’s not one fan in the building. Everybody has a job there, everybody knows what their job is, they have specific duties. I have a job to referee the fight, one of my duties is to stop the fight when the fighter’s taking too much damage.

“There’s two people who are authorized to advise me doing that, to maybe yell out those words, ‘stop the fight’. There’s one, the physician, we have a ringside physician who knows more about the physical body than I do. He’s there to give me advice. If he can’t get my attention, he might yell ‘stop the fight’.

“Then, there’s the fighters corner. They train with him, they know about him, they know more things about him than I do. They may know something I don’t know, and so that’s why they would give me some advice to stop the fight. Ultimately, to stop the fight is my decision. So, for anyone to, I don’t know who it was who did it, because I was looking at the fight but I heard it, and so I assumed it was either of the people authorized to do it, the doctor or the corner.

“After the match I followed up, I asked the physician, he goes, ‘no, that fight was fine, I’m perfectly fine with everything you did in that match.’ I didn’t get a chance to ask his corner, but I asked the inspectors who were in charge of his corner, and they said no, that the corner did not yell out to stop the match. That means it was somebody else, somebody there doing another job. This is a very dangerous thing to do.

“If you put on your superman shirt and decide you’re the smartest person in the room, smarter than the physician, smarter than the corner who works with the guy, and smarter than the referee, you’re doing a chance that you could bring in information that could do the fighter disservice.”

A couple days later, Hardy also posted a video regarding the matter, and had the following to say:

“It was an automatic response. So yes, it may not have been the right thing to do in the moment, it may not have been the correct way of getting my point across. It was an automatic response. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times before, I’ve been octagon side a couple of times. One in particular which I will cover in a minute, but when I saw him go down, I knew he was out. I’ve watched enough MMA, I’ve been in enough fights, I’ve put enough people in that situation to know when someone’s not ready to continue, and so did (Francisco) Trinaldo.

Hardy continued on, saying how Trinaldo pausing is most likely where the confusion comes in. That if he would’ve charged for Herbert as soon as he dropped, rather than waiting because he knew he was done, Dean probably would’ve stopped it.

“I didn’t get up and go to Herb (Dean), I was in my commentary spot. I was standing up to turn and put my headset on in a different way to face the camera and interview Trinaldo. That was what my job was to do in that moment. It was Herb that approached the commentary desk and asked me if I was speaking to him, and I said, ‘yes I was, that was the second time tonight.’ The first one was the Tanner Boser fight, not nearly as bad.

“Pessoa was caught with a knuckle to the eye, that’s often a reaction that you get when someone’s fractured an orbital bone or something like that, because immediately there’s a blurred vision, they crash to the floor, they don’t want any more. He curled up in a ball and I think took nine hammerfists. So, unfortunately for me, Herb had already set a precedent that night of being late to react. And when I saw Jai go down in that way, I knew that the fight was over. I needed to say something, I couldn’t not.”

Hardy continued on, explaining why it’s solely the referees job to not make these errors:

“Herb saying that he didn’t know whether it was the commission to do it (stop the fight) or not, that’s nonsense. Not in the history of the UFC has a commissioner stopped the fight mid-flow. They (will) stop in between rounds, they’ll stop it when the doctor’s there checking, but the referee is the sole controller of the flow of the fight. In a lot of places you can’t even throw the towel in.

“Most of the time when the towel goes in, and you’ll see this in boxing, the referee will either throw it out, or not acknowledge it and continue to ref the fight ’til they deem that the fight’s unable to continue. The corner team can’t throw the towel in themselves in a lot of states, they have to tell the commissioner. So if you see one of your teammates, training partners, friends hit the deck, the process to go through and stop that fight is far too long. So that’s something else we need to address.”

Do you agree with Dan Hardy?

I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.