UFC Fight Island 3 offered the fans some great fights last weekend, but a small confrontation between the former UFC welterweight turned commentator Dan Hardy, and the referee Herb Dean drew a lot of attention as well.
The moment, which divided the two and the whole MMA community, happened during the featured prelim fight between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert. According to Hardy, the famous referee didn’t stop the action in time, thus letting the 32 year old Englishman take unnecessary punishment.
‘The Outlaw’ expressed his dissatisfaction by yelling out to Dean ‘Stop the fight’, while Trinaldo was landing finishing blows. The two confronted face to face a few moments after the fight, and had a short verbal altercation.
Soon after the event, Dean released a video in which he defended his own actions, at the same time accusing Hardy for an inappropriate intervention.
Agreeing On One Thing
Hardy has put out a one hour stream on his Full Reptile YouTube channel (transcript by MMA Junkie) in response to the famous referee, analysing each and every one of his claims step by step. He did however agree with Dean on one thing.
“That was an automatic response. So, yes, it may have not been the right thing to do at the moment or the correct way of getting my point across, but it was an automatic response,” Hardy Admitted.
Reconstructing The Controversial Stoppage
Hardy described the exact moment when Trinaldo knocked Herbert down, which was the source of contention between the two.
“When I saw him (Herbert) go down, I knew he was out. I’ve watched enough MMA, I’ve been in enough fights, and I’ve put enough people in that situation to know when someone is not ready to continue and so did Trinaldo,” Hardy said. “Unfortunately, for Herb, if Trinaldo would’ve crashed straight shots, Herb would’ve stopped the fight, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
“But Trinaldo paused for a good three seconds, [and that’s] where the issue comes from, which punctuates at that moment where Herb should’ve stepped in and recognised the fight shouldn’t have continued.”
Hardy dismissed the argument made by some that he has a personal relationship with Herbert, stating that he’s only ever had one conversation with him previously. Adding that he would have the same reaction if Trinaldo was in question.
But the key statement in the debate was Dean saying that he didn’t know who yelled out the words ‘Stop the fight’. This is important as the referee made his whole case on the premise that Hardy yelling could have been mistaken for a suggestion coming from one of the officials who allegedly have a legit authority to influence his decision in that way.
‘The Outlaw’ strongly disagreed with that statement, and spared a bit of time to prove that it’s false.
“He knew exactly who shouted that out to him, because in this next clip you see him point at me and say, ‘Settle down.’ And this is why Herb didn’t go to anybody else on his way out to the octagon. He came straight at me and questioned me because he knew I had spoken to him.”
Pointing Out The General Problem
According to Hardy, it is not about this one case, but about the general problem of referees not learning from their mistakes. He tried to show that by analysing some repeated mistakes Dean made in previous fights, such as Luke Rockhold vs Chris Weidman.
“This shows a clear lack of knowledge of previous mistakes.”
Hardy insists that this isn’t a personal attack. He merely wants more accountability from Dean and all other MMA referees.
“He’s a good referee. He made a mistake here,” he said. “The issue is not with Herb. The issue is with not taking accountability for mistakes. These are circumstances where someone needs to have a conversation with the referee when this happens.
“I don’t know what the process is. I don’t know if there’s a process. If there is, someone please enlighten me, because these are moments where peers of the referee should say, ‘Look, this was a bad stoppage, and this is why you need to recognise it.’ Because if the ref doesn’t recognise it as a bad stoppage, there is no reason why it wouldn’t continue to happen. Accountability is important, because we learn from them. If I didn’t learn from the [Carlos] Condit knockout, I’d still be getting knocked out with left hooks.”
Are you with Dan Hardy or Herb Dean in this debate?