Jorge Masvidal believes Herb Dean doesn’t treat him fairly and no longer wants the veteran referee to oversee his UFC fights.
Later this month, Masvidal said he’ll undergo laser eye surgery for an injury caused by a foul from Colby Covington at the start of their UFC 272 grudge match. He indicated Dean did a poor job officiating the fight and accused the ref of not calling fouls at critical moments.
“I’m not a fan of Herb Dean, man, I’ll tell you that much,” said Masvidal on The MMA Hour.
Masvidal cited an errant punch before Covington’s first takedown attempt as the source of the injury; he could be seen telling Dean he was poked in the eye, but the action was not stopped, though Dean did warn Covington about eye pokes at the start of the second frame. The “BMF” champ also cited an illegal knee to the groin in Round 2 that drew another verbal warning from the veteran ref.
Masvidal believes the calls are part of a pattern.
“We’ve had a couple of problems, and the Donald Cerrone [fight] was one of them, as well,” he said. “Jake Ellenberger, as well. I just, I don’t know, I don’t think I’m his cup of tea, and he kind of takes it out [on me] when [he’s] refereeing.
“He’s done some things that I’m like, it’s kind of weird, and then I get clearly, clearly [Covington] throws a low blow – that I’m not saying this changes the outcome – but clearly he throws a low blow that’s intentional, and Herb doesn’t do anything about it, just gives him a little warning. I don’t know.”
Dean did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Covington repeatedly grounded Masvidal over the five-round fight and emerged with a unanimous decision in the March headliner. That was not the end of the rivals’ physical confrontation – Masvidal is accused of assaulting his former teammate and roommate outside a steakhouse in Miami Beach, and he faces felony charges for battery and criminal mischief.
Masvidal said the eye injury aggravated a previous one, adding “now, I’ve got more holes in my retina.” He didn’t blame the fouls for his loss, but emerged from the bout with a resolution to oppose Dean, one of the most tenured officials in UFC history who’s often been at the center of controversy for his calls inside the octagon.
It’s likely Masvidal will fight again in the UFC’s home state of Nevada. When he does, he has the option of requesting via hearing that Dean not oversee his fight; former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones famously did so with veteran official John McCarthy, whom Jones believed had treated him unfairly.
“I hope that as long as I compete, Herb Dean never referees a fight of mine or judges it,” Masvidal said.