Dan Hardy refutes Herb Dean’s defense of controversial stoppage, calls for referee accountability

Dan Hardy had a lot to say about Herb Dean’s defense of his controversial refereeing over the weekend.

Hardy, the former UFC fighter and current color commentator, took to his YouTube account Tuesday to address Dean’s video in which he answered for the stoppage in the Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert bout at UFC on ESPN 14 in Abu Dhabi.

Trinaldo knocked down Herbert in the third round, paused, and then followed up with ground-and-pound when Dean didn’t intervene to stop the fight. After the initial knockdown, Hardy – and fellow commentator Paul Felder – was heard on the broadcast yelling for the fight to be stopped.

On Sunday, Dean posted a video on social media explaining why he didn’t stop the fight after the knocked and addressed Hardy’s criticism, saying it was out of place. On Tuesday, during an hour-long live stream, Hardy said his initial reaction was automatic and agreed with Dean that it wasn’t the right thing to do.

“That was an automatic response,” Hardy said. “So, yes, it may have not been the right thing to do at the moment or the correct way of getting my point across, but it was an automatic response.”

That was the only point in which Hardy agreed with Dean, as he went to dissect Trinaldo’s stoppage win, along with several more of Dean’s past controversial moments.

“When I saw him (Herbert) go down, I knew he was out,” Hardy explained. “I’ve watched enough MMA, I’ve been in enough fights, and I’ve put enough people in that situation to know when someone is not ready to continue and so did Trinaldo. Unfortunately, for Herb, if Trinaldo would’ve crashed straight shots, Herb would’ve stopped the fight, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But Trinaldo paused for a good three seconds, (and that’s) where the issue comes from, which punctuates at that moment where Herb should’ve stepped in and recognized the fight shouldn’t have continued.”

Hardy also addressed fan’s accusing him of speaking out because he has a relationship with Herbert and their shared nationality. Although a fellow Englishman, Hardy said he doesn’t know Herbert and has no relationship with the former Cage Warriors champion.

Hardy refuted Dean’s claim that he didn’t know who called for the fight to be stopped, making it dangerous as it could’ve potentially been mistaken for a corner or official.

“He knew exactly who shouted that out to him, because in this next clip you see him point at me and say, ‘Settle down.’ And this is why Herb didn’t go to anybody else on his way out to the octagon. He came straight at me and questioned me because he knew I had spoken to him,” Hardy said.

Herb Dean and Dan Hardy at UFC on ESPN 14.

Hardy continued to break down many of Dean’s past controversial moments during his live stream. While discussing the Luke Rockhold vs. Chris Weidman fight, Hardy said, “This shows a clear lack of knowledge of previous mistakes,” in terms of examples he used to demonstrate Dean’s shortcomings as a ref.

Hardy doesn’t want to make the issue personal with Dean. Instead, he wants to bring awareness and call for more accountability from referees in MMA.

“He’s a good referee,” Hardy said. “He made a mistake here. The issue is not with Herb. The issue is with not taking accountability for mistakes. These are circumstances where someone needs to have a conversation with the referee when this happens.

“I don’t know what the process is. I don’t know if there’s a process. If there is, someone please enlighten me, because these are moments where peers of the referee should say, ‘Look, this was a bad stoppage, and this is why you need to recognize it.’ Because if the ref doesn’t recognize it as a bad stoppage, there is no reason why it wouldn’t continue to happen. Accountability is important, because we learn from them. If I didn’t learn from the (Carlos) Condit knockout, I’d still be getting knocked out with left hooks.”

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