First of all, it’s not easy to be a referee in any sport. You’re under pressure because you know that any decision you make could affect the outcome. That means the individual futures of the athletes, as well as millions of dollars worth of bets, made worldwide.
It can jeopardize sponsorships and the marketability of sports stars too. But when you’re a combat sports referee then you can also affect the fighters’ longterm health. We’ve seen both late and early stoppages in fights many times. However, there’s nothing worse than a referee allowing a fighter to take unnecessary damage.
Herb Dean effectively forced Francisco Trinaldo to savagely batter a hapless Jai Herbert at UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi. As a result, Dean attracted the ire of both Dan Hardy and Paul Felder, who commentated the event. Check out the clip below of Hardy’s fury.
I’m on Herb’s side with this one. Hardy and Felder need to quit acting like they are the officials.
— Bruce Buffer’s Coat (@BufferCoat) July 25, 2020
Some people will say that Felder and Hardy should stay quiet and do their jobs. However, Trinaldo had already finished Herbert. The younger fighter displayed impressive skills before the Brazilian veteran flatlined him. Herbert fell backward and lay on the ground. His hands went up in the air but you can hardly call it an intelligent defense.
Trinaldo recognized that he had done enough. He stood and waited for Dean to stop the fight. However, the veteran referee stood back, effectively forcing Trinaldo to rain down more hard shots. Herbert ate them with no clear defense. Then Dean finally stopped the bout.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 25, 2020
We’re not saying Dean is a bad referee, but there’s no doubt that he did make a mistake here. Hardy definitely wasn’t impressed and called the ref out from the commentator’s desk. He was audible in telling Dean to ‘come on’ and ‘stop the fight.’ Furthermore, he said ‘I do my job, now you do yours.”
Most people online agreed that it was a bad stoppage. While the likes of Joe Rogan frequently laud Dean as the ‘gold standard’ of refereeing, the truth is that his mistakes in recent months are piling up. Felder also added his voice and signaled his displeasure to the veteran ref.
— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) July 26, 2020
Not Good Enough
Felder has been through some savage wars. In sum, he knows the toll that a fight can take on a fighter’s body. That’s why he was so infuriated by what unfolded in front of his eyes. He made it clear that he wasn’t happy and explained afterward on ESPN that the referee needs to protect the fighters.
“His job is to protect the fighter,” Felder said. “I don’t care if there’s one second left on the clock. If he’s knocked out and his stiff — look at that fight again, and look at his hands and where its at!
“Just because he’s doing this, stiff, doesn’t mean he’s defending punches!” Felder exclaimed. “If Trinaldo can stand over you — being the scary man that he is — for a good three seconds without having to punch, and you don’t move, you’re out! He ate shots he didn’t have to eat.”