Many consider Herb Dean to be one of the best referees in the sport of MMA. Dana White himself has praised Herb in the past for his consistently good decisions inside of the Octagon. Last night, at UFC 170, however, Herb Dean was very inconsistent with his stoppages. The bouts in question were the main event between Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann, and the Welterweight bout between Mike Pyle and TJ Waldburger.
The second bout of the evening saw Mike Pyle pick up a devastating TKO victory over TJ Waldburger in impressive fashion late in round three. The fight was somewhat marred due to Herb Dean’s extremely late stoppage. If you have not seen the finish, check out the GIF below (courtesy of Zombie Prophet):
After the initial knockdown and eventual mount, Walburger ate two big elbows and seemingly went unconscious. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg both believed TJ was out, and said the fight should have been stopped. Mike Pyle then landed about 20 strikes to a turtled up Waldburger before Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Let’s fast forward to the main event of the evening. Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann came out swinging in their Bantamweight title fight. Rousey clinched McMann on the fence, and moments later dropped her with a knee to the solar plexus and liver. Herb Dean rushed in to stop the fight three seconds after Rousey landed the knee that crumbled McMann. If you have not seen the finish, check out the GIF below (courtesy of Zombie Prophet):
While Dana White agreed with the stoppage, there is no doubt there was a major discrepancy in Dean’s stoppages last night. The fact is that Sara McMann was not given any opportunity to recover from the knee. The finish is especially poor when you consider that it was in a title fight. McMann is a fighter; let her take an extra shot or two and give her the ability to recover. Was McMann defenseless in the the three seconds before Herb Dean stopped the fight? The hasty stoppage is even worse when compared to his late stoppage earlier in the night.
At the end of the day, Herb Dean is unquestionably one of the best referees in the sport, but a few of his recent stoppages have been more than questionable. The problem truly lies in the term ‘defenseless fighter’. When is a fighter ‘defenseless’? How much time do you give a fighter to recover? These questions need to be answered to protect the legitimacy of this sport.