Dan Hardy lights into referee Herb Dean over controversial UFC on ESPN 14 stoppage

Francisco Trinaldo got the win over Jai Herbert at UFC on ESPN 14 on Saturday night on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, but it wasn’t without controversy. The controversy, however, stemmed largely from a heated disagreement between UFC color commentator Dan Hardy and referee Herb Dean over what Hardy deemed Dean’s negligence as a referee that night.

Trinaldo cracked Herbert across the temple, sending him crashing to his backside early in the third round of their preliminary bout. Trinaldo moved in, but briefly stood over Herbert, awaiting Dean to step in and call off the fight. 

Dean, however, stayed back for a moment, allowing the fight to continue. Herbert had a hand up in the air, somewhat blocking his face, but Trinaldo dropped a few more punches to his head before Dean called off the bout. Simultaneously, Hardy could be heard on microphone and in the nearly empty arena yelling for Dean to stop the fight.

Hardy and co-commentator UFC lightweight Paul Felder remained critical of what they felt was Dean’s late stoppage.

“He does not want any more shots in that moment. That fight was over,” Hardy stated.

“That pisses me off,” added Felder. 

“That’s terrible,” Hardy continued.

“That’s not normally Herb. Herb is usually a fine referee, but tonight that’s two calls now where I think the fight should have been stopped,” said Felder. 

“He was clearly out,” said Hardy.

A video posted later by MMA Pursuit, showed Hardy and Dean having heated words after the fight.

Dean, on Sunday, posted a video from Abu Dhabi to his Instagram account, defending his refereeing at UFC on ESPN 14.

“What I really want to get into right now is during the match someone yelled out, ‘Stop the fight,’” Dean said. “It’s really interesting because there’s only professionals there and not one fan in the building. Everybody has a job there, everybody knows what their job is and they have specific duties. I have a job to referee the fight. One of my duties is to stop the fight when the fighter is taking too much damage. There are two people who are authorized to advise me during 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, maybe he might yell, ‘Stop the fight.’ Then there’s the fighter’s corner. They train with them, they know about them, they know more things about him than I do. They may know something I don’t know, so that’s why they would give me some advice to stop the fight.

“Ultimately to stop the fight is my decision. I don’t know who it was who did it because I was looking at the fight and I had heard it, so I assumed it was either of the two people authorized to do it, the doctor or the corner,” said Dean, before continuing.

“After the match I followed up, I asked the physician, he said, ‘No, that fight was fine. You were doing 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 are in charge of his corner. They said, ‘No. The corner did not yell out to stop the match.’

“That means it was someone else, someone else there to do a job. This is a very dangerous thing to do. If you put on your Superman shirt and decide that 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 – there’s a chance you could bring in information that could do the fighter a disservice.”

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Abu Dhabi

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Hardy also posted to his Instagram account, defending his own actions, calling Dean negligent for two late stoppages at UFC on ESPN 14.

“If you understand what it takes to get in there, then you understand my passion and anger when I see a fighter left unprotected. It isn’t the first time it’s happened, and twice in a night is clear negligence, in my opinion,” Hardy wrote.

Prior to the Trinaldo vs. Herbert fight, Dean was also criticized for what Hardy deemed a late stoppage in the heavyweight bout between Tanner Boser and Raphael Pessoa.

Midway through the second round, Boser cracked Pessoa with a punch to the face. Pessoa backed away and then fell to the canvas. From there, Boser landed several more punches to his downed opponent before Dean stopped the bout.

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I love Mixed Martial Arts. Sometimes it doesn’t love me back though, and that’s alright. Regardless, I’ll always do everything in my power to protect it, and those dedicating themselves to it. Sometimes you may disagree with me, and that’s alright as well. I’m always going to speak my mind, and it will always be backed by what I feel in my heart. If you understand what it takes to get in there, then you understand my passion and anger when I see a fighter left unprotected. It isn’t the first time it’s happened, and twice in a night is clear negligence, in my opinion. The referees job is more important than any other person in that building. It is on their shoulders to protect fighters from getting seriously hurt when they are unable to protect themselves. You may just see UFC fighters in there, but I see friends, teammates, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, competing in the sport that they love. When I make a mistake, I look stupid on live TV. When a referee makes a mistake, people are left vulnerable and can be seriously damaged. That can be life-changing, and we all have someone to go home to, that loves us and wants us back in one piece. Thank you for all of the kind words and messages I’ve received. I am truly grateful. I’ll see you all around… ♥️ —————— 🏴‍☠️Outlaw🏴‍☠️ —————— 📸 – @jeffbottari 🙏🏼

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