After bringing an exciting fight between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier to an end with an illegal knee by Alvarez, referee Herb Dean has stood by his decision to rule the bout a ‘no contest’.
In the aftermath of their preliminary headliner, Poirier has decided to appeal the official ruling but speaking to Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’, Dean has backed his ruling on the night and even gone to the lengths of explaining his thinking.
“His head was over Poirier’s back,” Dean recalled. “I can’t imagine a way where he’d be able to see his hands or his knees. I believe that he was fighting in earnest and thought that the fighter was not grounded. There’s no way I could say that for certain. I attempted to warn him before he went in with that knee, but it was loud in there and I can’t say that he heard me. I don’t believe that he was trying to fight outside of the rules when he threw that knee. I can’t say that he was.”
The long-time referee would then go on to describe what he deems a ‘downed opponent’ and also how he feels about the confusion of certain athletic commissions not adopting the new unified rule set.
“I rule a downed opponent as supporting weight,” Dean said. “Obviously if someone’s weight is being supported by their feet and the fence and then they reach down and touch their fingers, there’s lots of gamesmanship that used to go on with that. So we started quite a long time ago, it’s very established, that we rule a downed opponent as supporting weight. Supporting weight means if you snatch their hand away, they’re gonna fall on their face.”
“It doesn’t frustrate me that some haven’t adopted it,” Dean would later say of the updated rules. “It frustrates me that it’s separate, that we have two sets of rules. However it came up, however we got there. New rules, old rules — I just want the rules to be consistent. That’s the biggest thing we can do for the sport.”