Like in all sports the UFC’s referees can make a major difference to the outcome of a fight, it can keep a fight more interesting or it can ruin it. Long time referee Herb Dean might have ruined the women’s bantamweight championship fight between Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey and Sara Mcmann in February.
Dean called a quick end to the fight after Rousey kneed Mcmann in the side. The knee dropped Mcmann to the ground and as soon as she hit, Dean called the fight. He said that Mcmann was unable to continue the fight. Even though she was able to get up unassisted and walk to the center of the octagon.
The mixed martial arts community went into an uproar over Dean’s decision. They said that the fight was ended so quickly because it was two women fighting and if that it had been two men, they would have been allowed to continue fighting.
Mcmann was quoted saying that, “the referee is there to protect the fighters; that this responsibility is paramount.” Even though the referee is there to protect the fighters, the fight was called extremely fast.
If the UFC wants to keep its current audience paying to watch fights, they are going to have to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. The audience wants to Mcmann overcome a brutal strike like that and be able to keep fighting. You can still protect fighters and allow this to happen. Some of the greatest fights in the octagon have happened after a fighter received a blow that made the whole arena cringe and recovered enough to win the fight. This is the type of thing that keeps fans coming back to the octagon. People will not want to watch if the fight ends after one cringe worthy blow happens.
The real question with this fight is if Herb Dean is justified in his decision to call the fight or if he should be reprimanded for the call. Whatever is the outcome of this, one thing is certain, there needs to be a Rousey vs. Mcmann 2. And it needs to happen as fast as possible.