Hardy hasn’t fought in the UFC since 2012 but remained a fixture of UFC broadcasts as an analyst, most commonly seen during the promotion’s overseas events. Following an alleged altercation with a UFC employee along with a viral face-to-face argument with Dean at UFC Fight Island 3, Hardy and the UFC parted ways.
The cause of the Hardy/Dean beef appears to have stemmed from Dean’s reluctance to stop the fight between Jai Herbert and Francisco Trinaldo at UFC Fight Island 3, and Hardy lit into Dean on the broadcast and in person.
Hardy hasn’t let up on his criticism of Dean since leaving the UFC media world. During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Hardy explained why he feels uncomfortable when watching Dean officiate fights.
“My main focus is the fighters getting protection. He’s still present at regular events and still making mistakes consistently,” Hardy said. “He still waves that fight off at the end of the round, he still doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing, it concerns me.
“We need referees that do good jobs, and there is a small handful of them out there,” Hardy continued. “And we need to protect them, and we need to get them training the rest. Because there are a lot of guys that are slipping. And they’re not the ones taking the punishment.”
Hardy is close to returning to combat sports in an athletic role, as he’s said that a boxing match between himself and former UFC champion Tyron Woodley is close to booking. Hardy hasn’t ruled out a potential return to MMA, whether that be for ONE Championship or another promotion.
Dean has been a key component of the UFC for many years since he began officiating the promotion’s biggest fights in the early 2000s. He is also a former professional fighter, competing in brief stints with Cage Rage and KOTC.
Hardy has become one of the most prominent voices in MMA since transitioning into a commentary role, despite his strained relationship with one of the most well-known officials in the sport.
What are your thoughts on Dan Hardy’s latest comments about Herb Dean’s officiating?