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Referee Under Scrutiny: Herb Dean Responds to Criticism of Late Stoppage.

Herb Dean
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The UFC veteran referee Herb Dean has recently come under the spotlight due to an incident at the UFC Fight Island 3. Many believe he should have stopped the fight between Trinaldo and Herbert much sooner.

What Happened?

Francisco Trinaldo was looking for a good moment to end the fight with Jai Herbert, and he found one when he finally knocked down his opponent. But the fight didn’t end there.

Trinaldo threw four additional punches at Herbert while he was still on the ground, and only then did Herb Dean end the beating. 

Criticism of Dean’s Decision

It all started with the commentator Dan Hardy, who shouted ‘Stop the fight!’ and later confronted the referee near his booth. Other people followed. Most didn’t try to bully Dean, but they did consider his actions a big mistake. 

The problem most people had was, quite obviously, with the four extra punches in the end. According to Dan Hardy, those should not have happened. He believes the fight should have been stopped as soon as Herbert wound up on the ground.

But was it really that bad, or is it simply the impression of somebody who isn’t qualified to judge? 

Herb Dean Responds

While addressing the controversial issue, Dean started off by painting a clear picture of what’s going on in the arena, outside the octagon. 

Who Is Responsible for the Fighters’ Safety? 

Turns out, there are only two people who can advise the referee regarding whether or not the fight should be immediately stopped. 

One of those is the physician. They are an experienced person, highly knowledgeable about human physicality. The other is the fighter’s corner, highly aware of the fighter’s limits.

Neither the physician nor the corner yelled out ‘Stop the fight!’. The commentator did. Dean explains how the voice could possibly be mistaken for a qualified advisor and how, in most situations, intervening like that can lead to bad consequences.

Stopping the Fight Late

As for the fight itself, the referee is very clear. He knows he didn’t do anything wrong, always keeping the fighter’s safety as the priority. 

Jai Herbert, he says, was well-aware of the situation while he was on the ground. The fighter reacted to the fall by tracking Trinaldo’s movement, putting out his arms for defense, and keeping his head and legs off the mat.

Such actions indicate a fighter’s readiness to continue the fight. After all, no fighter is new to getting hurt. They anticipate similar situations and prepare an action plan for it. 

In the case of Herbert, he did eventually lose control, and it was then when the referee decided it was enough.


It’s easy to form an opinion based on a famous person’s position, but if we look closer, we might discover a reality that is different from the one we have in our head. Herb Dean was doing his job, and he was doing it well. 

Do you think Herbert made the right decision?

Also, you can read about social media fights.

What do you think?


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