UFC bantamweight Kris Moutinho has criticized referee Herb Dean for stopping his fight with Sean O’Malley at UFC 264 “too soon.”
Making his UFC debut on just a week’s notice, Moutinho entered the Octagon with one of the promotion’s top prospects in Sean O’Malley at last weekend’s pay-per-view.
Despite the result, being able to fight in front of a sold out T-Mobile Arena crowd of 20,000+, and take home a $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus, was an incredible achievement, especially given he spent last month working 80 hours a week in a factory.
There was certainly no doubt about Moutinho’s chin following the main card opener. The debutant continued to push forward and take the fight to O’Malley despite eating everything he had. Moutinho’s ability to throw back even when he was caught with some heavy combinations led to some controversy when Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout in the final round.
Despite being hit with virtually every shot O’Malley threw, Moutinho is unhappy that he wasn’t able to continue for the final 23 seconds of his debut fight.
While speaking during an appearance on MMA Junkie Radio, the Portuguese-American suggested, like many fans and pundits, that the fight was brought to an end prematurely by veteran referee Herb Dean.
“I definitely think it was stopped too soon. Man, I’m not gonna sit here and bash Herb Dean because he seems like a really great guy, man. He seems like a really great ref. And he definitely knows what he’s doing. I’ve seen him make a lot of really good calls, and sometimes you make bad ones.”
To support his point, Moutinho mentioned the amount of times fights have been allowed to continue despite the heavy damage fighters sustained, providing Robbie Lawler‘s welterweight title defense against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 as an example.
“Man, I’ve seen dudes look like they’re gonna die in that cage and not get stopped. You can go watch the Rory MacDonald fight where he got his face smashed, the Robbie Lawler fight, where he went 4 ½ rounds with his face smashed into a bloody mess and they didn’t stop that fight.”
Despite admitting that it wasn’t a massive deal to him because he would’ve comfortably lost on the judges’ scorecards, Moutinho did say that it was a shame he couldn’t see out the final seconds, especially considering he was still fighting back.
“So I had 30 seconds left, man. You should’ve let me go out on my shield if I was gonna go out. Man, I was still throwing punches. I was still standing there. So yeah, I’m a little upset about that, man.”
Despite falling short of the 15-minute distance at UFC 264, Moutinho certainly showed his grit and toughness after eating 230 significant strikes at the hands of O’Malley. As “Sugar” said during his post-fight interview, it’s clear the 28-year-old has a place in the promotion.
For O’Malley, it stands to reason a name in the rankings is next for him after breaking the bantamweight record for the most significant strikes in a fight. Calling out Rob Font appeared ambitious given his place on the bantamweight ladder, but there are plenty of top names available should Font pursue a higher-ranked opponent for his next Octagon walk.
What did you make of Herb Dean’s stoppage in the fight between Kris Moutinho and Sean O’Malley at UFC 264?