The final event at Fight Island did not come without some controversy. This was not a result of a terrible judging decision, but instead a confrontation between UFC commentator Dan Hardy and veteran referee Herb Dean at UFC on ESPN 14.
Following a preliminary bout between Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert, Hardy was perturbed by the refereeing of Dean. He shouted at him during the broadcast to stop the bout after Trinaldo landed what looked like a fight-ending punch. Dean stepped in to stop the action, but it came after a few unwarranted blows. There was also a late stoppage in the Tanner Boser vs. Raphael Pessoa fight as well.
Herb Dean and Dan Hardy Issue Statements
You can see in the photo above that Hardy and Dean had some words at the commentating desk following the bout.
Hardy released the following statement on Sunday morning.
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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 🙏🏼
After Hardy made his statement, Dean took to his own Instagram account to release the following video.
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He was very clear in saying, “by no means was that a late stoppage,” and explained how Hardy’s explicit yelling during the fight-ending sequence was both out of line and potentially dangerous.
“What I really want to get into right now is during the match someone yelled out, ‘Stop the fight,’” Dean said on Instagram. “It’s really interesting because there’s only professionals there and there’s 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’s taking too much damage. There’s 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.”