“Looking back, it did seem kind of quick on the screen,” she told MMAjunkie after the event. “Things are kind of slowed down in my head in the cage. I felt it connect, and my body just flew to protect itself. I heard [Dean's] voice, and I immediately tried to get back up.
“I’m not going to blame a referee for something I feel like I should be able to control. I should get up quicker. If you want to win fights, you just have to do it, regardless of what’s going on.”
It was a tough night for Dean, who’s generally regarded as one of the sport’s better officials. However, earlier in the night, he took criticism for a perceived late stoppage in Mike Pyle’s main-card win over fellow welterweight T.J. Waldburger.
However, UFC President Dana White – who’s usually never one to shy away from chucking a ref in front of the bus – came to Dean’s defense when it came to both stoppages. He said the Pyle stoppage wasn’t as late as some people suggested (“It didn’t look as bad to me in the replay as when it was happening live,” he said), and he also backed up the veteran official’s Rousey-McMann stoppage.
“Listen, guys,” he said. “I’ve been in this business a long time. I’ve seen that happen to Oscar de la Hoya and many other great fighters. You get hit to the body like that, and regular people who have never been hit to the body have no f—ing clue what that feels like. Believe me when I tell you that.
“[McMann] went down to her knees, and she turned her head the other way. Could Herb have let her take some shots to the face? Definitely. But when the fight happened and I saw it, I said, ‘Oh man.’ And then I watched the replay. When I watched the replay, I thought it was a good stoppage.”
Rousey concurred. The Olympic bronze-medal judoka, who met a silver-medal wrestler in Saturday’s all-Olympic affair, diligently worked on her striking during the 56 days between her UFC 168 and UFC 170 title defenses. In fact, Rousey caused a bit of a stir on fight week when she told MMAjunkie that in addition to being the best grappler in women’s MMA, she’s also the best striker. Those comments followed some from her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, who said Rousey was consistently dropping world-champion boxers with body shots.
So when she buckled McMann with the liver shot from the clinch, Rousey wasn’t necessarily surprised. She also felt Dean’s quick intervention was warranted.
“I didn’t think it was too soon,” she said. “I’d have kept going if someone didn’t stop me. But it’s not my decision. That’s why they have a referee in there to make sure no one gets hurt more than they need to.