Veteran Herb Dean made a controversial call at UFC 211 on Saturday night when he declared a fight between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier to be a no-contest after illegal strikes were thrown.
The featured preliminary bout on FX had proven to be a thriller as Poirier rocked Alvarez badly in the second round, only for the former champion to quickly rally and put ‘The Diamond’ on the backfoot.
However, what was shaping up to be a candidate for ‘Round of The Year’, was marred when Alvarez appeared to land illegal knees while Poirier was grounded, which led to Dean halting the action.
Replays confirmed that Alvarez’s knee had indeed been illegal, but after it was confirmed that Poirier could not continue, Dean declared that they had been uninentional and as such reached a ‘No Contest’ ruling.
That’s a decision that’s been met with criticism post-fight, but in a new interview, Dean stands by his verdict.
“I would have disqualified him if I believed they were intentional,” Dean told MMAjunkie Radio. “How I rule I knew that Eddie couldn’t see whether [Poirier’s] knee was down or not – that’s why I ruled it unintentional.
“There’s a lot going on in there, and that’s why [referees] give people a little bit of leeway with some of those rules. I reserve ‘intentional’ for someone acting out of the rules and being a bad guy, and they need to be disqualified. I don’t think [Alvarez] was trying to be a bad person. I think he was trying to fight within the rules – it’s just that it’s difficult.”
Many have been calling for referee’s to have access to action replays to aid them in the heat of the moment, but in this instance, Dean claims that it wouldn’t have made a difference.
“I saw the knee was down, I saw him hit him – so it was pretty evident to me … I can’t think of a reason not to have a source of information available to you. Every way you can possibly get information to make the right call, to try to do the best job you can for these guys, that’s what I’m about.”
Poirier was gracious about the outcome of the fight at the time, but understandably he’s now looking to appeal the decision, and is also looking to pursue a rematch with Alvarez.