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Morning Report: ‘Big’ John McCarthy on controversial stoppage: Herb Dean was in a ‘can’t-win’ situation

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Bellator 136 Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC’s final foray to ‘Fight Island’ went down on Saturday with four former champions all picking up wins. But despite the marquee names and highlights up and down the card, the talk of the event is about one of the lowlights: the stoppage by referee Herb Dean in the Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert bout.

In the third round of the preliminary bout, Trinaldo blasted Herbert with a punch that rolled the former Cage Warriors’ eyes back into his head and dropped him to the canvas. Trinaldo then stood over Herbert but hesitated in throwing more shots at the downed fighter, clearly believing it to be unwarranted. Herb Dean did not intervene though and so Trinaldo landed four more punches to Herbert, finally causing Dean to step in. The incident inspired immediate reaction from commentators Dan Hardy and Paul Felder who were both cage side. Afterwards, both Dean released a statement about the event, arguing it to be proper stoppage. And now, another voice has weighed in.

‘Big’ John McCarthy began refereeing MMA at UFC 2 and functionally invented the job and helped mold its parameters. Currently, he works for Bellator MMA as a commentator but he still hosts a training program for MMA judges and commentators, and on the most recent episode of his Weighing In podcast, he addressed the Dean stoppage (h/t

“Jai’s really good. Really talented. Good movement, a nice smooth stand-up fighter and he did well in the clinches and stuff,” McCarthy said. “He was fighting really well. But, Jai gets hit and the shot that hits him goes off basically the top of his forehead. The top of his head and you see him go stumble back and fall the way he did. It’s like he got hit in the head with a hammer. And you know as the referee it’s one of those… It is an oddity knockdown. Not your norm. But when he falls how did he fall? He fell going backwards and was he still there?”

“Doesn’t look like it. But, when Herb Dean sees him he comes around and he sees him fall down like this (motioning straight back) and he sees him with his hands in a position to defend himself. So Herb is thinking (Herbert) can defend himself and Trinaldo just stopped. Now Trinaldo stopped because he is a competitor, a sportsman and felt like he’s out. I shouldn’t have to hit him again. But, he has to continue on. So the fact that Trinaldo didn’t immediately go after him, makes it now where Herb really can’t stop it, in a way, because he is saying he’s in there defending himself. Could he have stopped it? He could have. But, there would have been people complaining about him stopping it. There would have been people saying ‘Oh you didn’t give him the opportunity’ to try and you know work his way out. So you’re in that can’t win.”

McCarthy also responded to Hardy’s comments about the stoppage, saying that the UFC commentator was likely influenced by his personal relationship with Jai Herbert and that, were the roles reversed, he would not have wanted Dean to stop the fight.

“You know the fact that Dan Hardy is friends with Jai, likes him and watches him fight in England,” McCarthy added. “Well he got all upset because his guy took extra shots and ok. But, if Dan Hardy was the guy who got hit and went down and someone stopped it, he would be standing up like Dominick Cruz. ‘You stopped it too soon!’ Can’t win.”

In turn, Hardy has also released a statement, doubling down that the stoppage was dangerous and bad. Reportedly, the UFC will also be looking into the incident.


Results. Former champions got back in the win column at the UFC’s final Fight Island event.

Results. Sergio Pettis outclasses Ricky Bandejas at Bellator 242 to secure bantamweight title shot.

Staying ready. Robert Whittaker: ‘I wasn’t myself’ against Israel Adesanya, vows to stay ready as UFC 253 backup.

Knee. Darren Till expects to have surgery after injuring knee against Robert Whittaker.

Confrontation. Dan Hardy issues statement on Herb Dean confrontation: ‘When a referee makes a mistake, people are left vulnerable’

Not Intelligent Defense. Referee Herb Dean responds to criticism over controversial stoppage at UFC on ESPN 14.


UFC on ESPN Post Show.

Bellator 242 recap.

LFA 86 highlights.

Georges blowing smoke.

Elias Theodorou, Survivorman.

Give Max a food network show.


On to the Next One. Matchmaking for all the fighters coming out of UFC on ESPN 14.

Severe MMA. Discussing the UFC’s final Fight Island foray and Bellator 242.



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At this difficult time in the world, a massive appreciation goes out to everyone involved. Firstly to all my coaches and training partners, @alexprates07 @standstrongboxingcoachjustin @charliebechwaty @andrew_grange74 @justinlang_ep @jacobmalkoun @isidoxz , their families and all my team mates at the gym @graciejiujitsusmeatongrange , the sacrifices you all make on a daily, forever grateful #oneteamonedream ! My sponsors @musashinutrition , @kaplan_homes , @bethesda @bethesda_anz , @sweatcentral , @omenbyhp . My management team @rivalsportsmanagement @titusday77 and @courtneyhardday behind the scenes so much happens and these guys get it done no worries! My father @menaijack my day 1, all my family back home my mother in law @melina.iannelli.3 helps us incredibly on a daily basis. My wife @sofiamareewhittaker and kids for continuing to be my reason why. Many people may not know this my wife is the one that helps with all my food prep, nutrition tracks all she has been doing for years, studies and specialises everything for me, this weight cut was the best one yet, I was the healthiest I’ve ever been stepping in that octagon, love you Sofia ! To all my supporters #reapernation , all is appreciated forever grateful for you, and we will keep posted more @reapergearrw coming soon! Everyone involved here in @yasisland #fightisland @ufc @ufcanz @ufcpi @danawhite thank you for letting us fighters continue to do what we love in these crazy times, nothing has gone by unnoticed and I will forever be grateful and now excited for the next! #onwardsandupwards One last mention @darrentill2 it was a pleasure mate, what a chess match! Now for some dip and chips. Daz?

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High praise.


Also, this nonsense.

Aspen Ladd is a hero.

JDS looking absolutely diesel.

Words of wisdom from GSP.

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The importance of practice and repetition!

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Chris Gutierrez (15-3-1) vs. Cody Durden (11-2); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 1.

Matt Mitrione (13-7, 1 NC) vs. Timothy Johnson (13-6); Bellator 243, Aug. 7.

Geoff Neal (13-2) vs. Neil Magny (23-7); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 29.

Germaine de Randamie (9-4) vs. Julianna Peña (9-3); UFC Fight Night, Oct. 3.

Marcus Davis (22-11, 1 NC) vs. Nick Alley (6-3); Premiere Fighting Championship, Oct. 3.


In response to Big John: the only person in a ‘can’t-win’ situation here was Jai Herbert who clearly was in no position to win the bout as he was unconscious. If you can watch that video, and believe that’s intelligent defense, you are off your rocker. His arms were in front of his face, they weren’t blocking punches. They were just there. You can tell he isn’t intelligently defending himself because he isn’t using his legs in any fashion to shrimp, create space, block, trap. He’s just laying there like a bump on a pickle and Trinaldo then has to rifle four more shots to his head before Herb Dean does his job. It’s an egregiously bad stoppage and the inability of either Big John or Herb Dean to recognize that is a serious issue.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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