Veteran MMA referee Herb Dean spoke with Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour about the controversy stemming from this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 84 main event between Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping. Below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On his decision not to stop the action when Michael Bisping’s mouth piece came out:
“That’s the way the mechanic works, is that you replace the mouthpiece during a lull in the action,” Dean said during an appearance on Monday’s edition The MMA Hour. “And [Bisping] signaled once, and Anderson was actually in the process of attacking him. For a lot of reasons that are pretty evident you can’t stop to replace the mouthpiece during a heated exchange, and that qualified as a heated exchange.
“If we were doing that, we’d have guys getting their bell rung, spitting out the mouthpiece to get a little extra time or sometimes you’re feeling a little tired, just spit your mouthpiece out. So obviously we can’t do that in the middle of an exchange.”
On why he didn’t stop the fight when Silva dropped Bisping with the flying knee:
“Well, [Silva] hit him with the knee and dropped him, and then he walked off and started to celebrate,” he said. “He had been dropped, but you know, in MMA we don’t stop the match just because someone gets dropped. I saw that when he fell he was not unconscious. He was facing Anderson. Anderson didn’t give him a threat to protect himself from, but — I don’t want to start playing what if, what if he attacked and whatnot — the bottom line is he didn’t attack. The round ended and, because Anderson was celebrating, there was some confusion as to what was going on.
“But I never had any confusion. I knew that I hadn’t stopped the match and that the match was going to continue.”
On Silva celebrating as if he’d won and Herb Dean’s fight to restore order:
“I wasn’t really that worried about that because, it was pandemonium and of course I can’t run around and start yelling at everyone to get out of the cage, there was just too many people,” he said. “But, what I did do is I let people know that the fight wasn’t over. And eventually, once I started expressing that it wasn’t over to the right people — the inspectors, the fighters — that order was going to be restored and we’d continue with the match.”
On Bisping’s claims that the facial damage he suffered was Dean’s fault:
“Well, I don’t know, maybe he’s not aware of the rules,” he said. “A lot of fighters, most of them real the fouls but they don’t read all the rules on the mechanics. Maybe he wasn’t aware of that. But the rule is to replace the mouthpiece during a lull in the action.”