Saturday night's UFC 164 lightweight title bout between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis ended in such confusing non-dramatic fashion as to create drama.
Did Benson Henderson tap verbally when Pettis torqued that armbar in the first round, or did he physically tap? There was a brief three or four seconds when nobody really knew what happened as Pettis peeled off of Henderson and began to celebrate.
The third man in the cage for that main event was Herb Dean, and he was on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour to clarify the sequence of events.
"I saw [Pettis] lock the armbar in and [Henderson] was trying to defend it," he told Ariel Helwani. "He was reaching across, and he went belly down. I was moving and trying to get into a better position and at that time, that's when the tap came. And [Pettis] got up and immediately started celebrating. I guess where people weren't knowing exactly what happened is usually they're used to see me grab the guy and then wave it off. But he got up so quick that I didn't get a chance to do that."
As to whether or not he'd like for a fighter in Pettis' position to wait for the referee to intervene, Dean said yes, because that's the surest way to avoid controversy.
"I think people should always wait for me to touch them." he said. "Just to be on the safe side I wouldn't advise that fighter not to get up unless the referee has touched them.
"It all worked out but we have situations where guys stop fighting and the referee has not stopped the fight," he said. "Then they have to start fighting again. We definitely don't want situations like that, especially in championship fights."
One can't help but recall the bizarre incident with Rousimar Palhares against Dan Miller at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, a bout that Dean just happened to be refereeing. Palhares thought he had finished Miller with a heavy barrage of strikes, and, inexplicably, jumped up to climb the fence in celebration. Dean, who never touched Palhares or waved him off, asked Palhares back down so that he could reset the fighters. Palhares ended up getting the decision.
Fortunately, Dean said, this time there was no big controversy.
"The armbar was on tight, the arm was going," he said. "I knew the tap was coming, and the arm bar was definitely done."