26 Jul [MMA] 
UFC's Dave Shaw: Dan Hardy-Herb Dean conflict to be investigated by promotion

ABU DHABI – UFC senior vice president David Shaw said conversations would take place back home in Las Vegas following Dan Hardy’s on-air outburst at referee Herb Dean and subsequent exchange between the pair after Francisco Trinaldo’s TKO win over Jai Herbert at UFC on ESPN 14.

Hardy and his co-commentary colleague, Paul Felder, were both clearly upset by Dean’s handling of the finish to Trinaldo’s win over Herbert after the fight was allowed to continue, despite Herbert appearing to be knocked stiff by a huge punch.

Both Hardy and Felder were vocal in their calls for Dean to call off the fight, while even Trinaldo stopped to allow Dean to step in before eventually continuing to land four unanswered shots at the clearly scrambled Herbert. It was then that Dean intervened.

Hardy was incensed, and photographs shared from cageside showed the former welterweight title challenger remonstrating with the official in the aftermath of the fight before the Englishman recomposed himself to conduct the post-fight interview with Trinaldo.

When asked about the incident at the post-fight news conference, Shaw admitted: “I wasn’t on the floor when it happened. I did hear some of the comments on the broadcast. 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. (The) 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, very successful MMA career, an excellent analyst right now, but he’s passionate, and he’s fiery.

“The important thing for us to do is to try and get a handle and try to get an understanding of what actually happened. Obviously, this is not something that you address with either one of the parties during the show. These guys have a job to do, and so we certainly don’t want to disrupt their efforts to do an excellent job, as we expect they always will. So we’ll go back, we’ll check it out, try to get a better understanding of what happened and really take it from there.”

Hardy’s response drew words of support from the UFC’s lead play-by-play commentator, Jon Anik, who tweeted, “Dan Hardy has always had my respect as one of the best MMA minds/analysts out there but he’s especially deserving of praise tonight. Analysts must be critical when they believe the situation calls for it. Can’t hold back. He didn’t. He’s not trying to make friends.”

Shaw hinted that Hardy may have stepped out of line by interacting with Dean during the event, noting that referees should only be approached by regulatory staff during events.

“I guess the bottom line is there’s one group of people that are able to talk to officials during the fight night, and that’s (Marc) Ratner’s regulatory group, and no one else,” Shaw said. “So we’ll see what happens next week when we get back to the office.”

UPDATE: Hardy, for his part, posted a defense of his actions on his Instagram page.

View this post on Instagram

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 ��

A post shared by Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) on

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… ♥