Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy has savaged referee Herb Dean over his late stoppage in Francisco Trinaldo’s win over Jai Herbert.
Trinaldo put Herbert flat on his back with a big left hand in the third round of their fight at UFC Fight Island on Sunday.
'DANGEROUS’: Fastest KO ever leaves boxing fans fuming
Herbert appeared to be finished as he lay cowering at Trinaldo’s mercy and Trinaldo clearly didn’t want to inflict any more damage on his opponent.
However referee Dean inexplicably let the fight continue, forcing Trinaldo to pound his hapless opponent with four more massive strikes.
Hardy was cage-side in commentary and couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“STOP THE FIGHT!” he could be heard screaming at Dean.
Dean did eventually step in and call the fight off, but it was far too late for many fans and pundits.
“I’m going to give a lot of credit to Trinaldo in that moment right there,” Paul Felder said in commentary of the fact Trinaldo hesitated about continuing his attack.
“He could have just started teeing off. But he saw what we saw, and that fight should have been stopped.”
Hardy agreed, saying “That p*sses me off”, before describing Dean’s stoppage as “terrible.”
Hardy was also seen having words with Dean after the fight.
What was the point of those extra punches? You could tell Trinaldo didn’t want to throw those but was forced to. Unnecessary. https://t.co/qGZUJlbeif— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 26, 2020
Herb Dean remote controller battery died— Eryk Anders (@erykanders) July 25, 2020
HORRIBLE stoppage by Herb Dean my god what a disgrace #UFCFightIsland3— Abdul (@abdul_javid8) July 25, 2020
Herb Dean having an absolute shocker there, that was a disgrace. #UFCFightIsland3— Alec Flood (@AlecFlood) July 25, 2020
Herb Dean hits back at criticism
Dean later defended himself, saying the stoppage wasn’t late.
“There’s a fight that some people said could have been stopped earlier, think it was stopped late. By no means was that a late stoppage,” Dean said on Instagram.
“Anyone who believes or not is maybe just following because someone with a microphone says it’s a [bad] stoppage. But if you know anything about fighting, a fighter got hurt, fighters get rocked all the time but we’re looking at his actions.
“He’s tracking his opponent. He knows where his opponent is. He’s put both arms in between him and his opponent. He’s lifted his leg up, head off the mat.
“He’s doing everything I can ask for him to do to stay in that fight. There wasn’t a bad stoppage.”
Dave Shaw, the UFC’s Senior Vice President of International and Content, also defended Dean after the event.
“Here’s the thing, being a ref in MMA is one of the hardest roles that you can have, and Herb Dean is one of our best categorically,” Shaw said.
“Bottom line is health and safety of the athletes is of paramount importance.
“On the other side, you’ve got a guy like Hardy, who you know, had a very successful MMA career, an excellent analyst right now, but he’s passionate ... and he’s fiery.
“There’s one group of people who are able to talk to officials during a fight night, and that’s [Marc] Ratner’s Regulatory group, and no-one else.
“So we’ll see what happens next week when we get back to the office.”
Rob Whittaker stakes title claims
Meanwhile, Australia's Robert Whittaker has declared he's ready for another UFC title shot after a five-round unanimous points win over England's Darren Till in a “stressful” tactical fight in Abu Dhabi.
Former middleweight champion Whittaker was floored with an elbow in the first round but landed more strikes in all rounds.
He was especially strong with his leg kicks and showed his versatility by scoring some crucial takedowns in the last round.
All three judges scored Sunday's fight 48-47 in Whittaker's favour, in his first fight since losing the 185-pound title to Israel Adesanya last October.
“I'm championship level, I'm ready for a championship fight right now,” Whittaker said.