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Exclusive: Herb Dean on the difficulty of officiating MMA (Video)

Following a first round stoppage of the main event at “Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs Henderson,” many fans were quick to criticize referee Herb Dean’s decision to step in and stop Dan Henderson. Since then, Dean has explained on that after reviewing the tape he stands by his decision. Dean, a former pro mixed martial artist himself, talked with us on training still to this day, and keeping updated in the sport.

“I take care of myself, make sure that I train, make sure I keep up with what’s going on in this sport,” Dean told “I’m here, I’m interested. I know what’s going on, that’s where you want to be as an official.”

With the level in competition rising in the sport, Dean spoke on the expectations of officiating to improve along with the athletes evolution.

“We are always having much more closely contested fights and that is when the judges are going to need to earn their keep. It’s a tough job. There is many times when I have been there as a referee on some of these very close fights and my first thought is man I’m so glad that I’m not a judge right now. I think the fans have an understanding, the athletes have an understanding of what’s required of a judge and a referee so it’s a lot tougher officiating in this sport. We have professional fighters, and they expect professional officials.”

Dean explains that fans of the sport not only criticize referee’s, but respect an educated decision in the cage. 

“Well actually in this sport you do [receive approval]. The referee’s that do a good job. That’s something I like about the sport- is that the fans respect it, and they let you know. They let you know they appreciate you when you’re doing something right also, and that’s a good thing that wasn’t expected.

For information on starting a career in officiating, check out

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