At UFC 272, Jorge Masvidal took on Colby Covington in a heavily anticipated grudge match. Early in the fight, Covington poked Masvidal in the eye, to which “Gamebred” immediately protested to referee Herb Dean. However, Dean allowed the fight to continue, with Covington able to close the distance while Masvidal complained to the referee and then eventually took Masvidal down and controlled the round.
Masvidal believes that even though this sequence took place very early in the fight, it still had an impact on the outcome because it led to Covington taking him down and draining some of his gas tank. He also said the foul had a lasting impact on his eye, with a pain that lingered even after the bout concluded.
During the UFC 272 post-fight press conference, a peeved Jorge Masvidal blasted Dean for his officiating not only in that moment but as a referee overall.
“The eye poke was pretty bad, man. The only thing that’s hurting on me right now is the fuckin’ eye poke,” Masvidal said. “My eye’s still throbbing right now. I’ve had a couple mishaps with Herb Dean. I just don’t get it why he didn’t fix the action. [Covington] threw a punch, missed, and then he immediately just jabbed me in the fuckin’ eyeball. I’m not gonna take nothin’ away (from) him winning the fight because that was just one sequence; it would’ve been cool if he would’ve stopped it there and I would’ve got my fuckin’ breather and then we restart because he poked the shit out of my eye, and it’s still throbbin’ right now. That’s the only thing that’s hurting on me.
“Me and Herb Dean don’t have a clean record as it is. We’ve had a couple mishaps in the past, and shit, man, he’s not my cup of tea when it comes to referring.”
Herb Dean is one of the most experienced referees in the sport of MMA, but he has not been without controversy.
Perhaps the most memorable criticism he’s received came from ex-UFC fighter Dan Hardy, who compiled an entire presentation of Herb Dean’s history of “late stoppages” in his argument explaining why he confronted Dean while serving as a commentator during a UFC broadcast after such a stoppage. And as recently as last November, Hardy made it clear that his view of Dean has not changed.
Masvidal is on the same page as Hardy when it comes to Herb Dean. In fact, he believes that anyone who is a fan of the sport can testify that Dean is mistake-prone.
When asked if he was surprised that Dean didn’t deduct a point from Covington when he fouled Masvidal with a groin strike that came after the eye poke, Masvidal doubled down on his low opinion of Dean far beyond this one officiating performance.
“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Masvidal responded. “I was just surprised that after the eye poke in the first round that he didn’t just break it up and address it. Like, that position wouldn’t have happened had he not poked me in the eye. So it’s whatever. It’s Herb Dean stuff. Everybody here could—if you’ve seen fighting, you’ve seen Herb Dean have numerous hiccups. I’m not gonna blame the fight on him, but he’s not my cup of tea when it comes to referring.”
Do you agree with Jorge Masvidal’s harsh assessment of Herb Dean as a referee?