Herb Dean is widely regarded as one of the best referees in the business and this past weekend he was the head referee at ACB 70 in Sheffield, England.
Being the third man in the cage is never an easy and job, especially in a time where there are inconsistency between rulesets used across promotions and states in America.
This past weekend, MMAUNO.com sat down with Dean and discussed the current state of refereeing affairs in MMA.
“I think consistency is one of the biggest things we can do for the athletes,” Dean said. “You’re always trying to be as consistent as possible so even if you don’t agree with a rule, you’re trying to go influence a change if you don’t think that change is going to be consistent.
“I think those that have the power to make a change, I think it’s their responsibility to get everyone on board before they take that action.”
Dean then expressed some concerns with some the latest rules that have been implemented in some states. He explained that he trusts the rule changes were made to protect the athletes, but that the recent change to the grounded opponent weren’t totally ideal from his perspective.
“I think people are trying to make things better, make things safer and they’re trying to protect the athletes in the sport; they have good intentions,” Dean said. “The thing and the problem with the rule to begin with, is that with a grounded opponent, it wasn’t defined that the guys were touching, that they could touch and so that allowed to bring the referee in.
“[It’s] probably one of the areas were you seeing flopping, which is what you see in some of the other sports and that’s not what we want to see in combat sports. We don’t want to see anything where people are bringing in officials to win fights.”
“There are two changes they made, one is they changed what they classify in terms of grounded in relation to the placement of the handed. The palms have to be flat or the knuckles down on the fist and I like that. Also they changed if it’s going to be grounded with hands, your hands are going to be changing whether you’re grounded. Everything else is the same whether you’re talking your knee or your butt or any other part of your body. The thing that they changed is you can’t put one hand down, you need to put two hands down.
“That’s my concern with the two hands down because it’s combat sports and the first rule is keep your hands up.”
“You put your two hands down know it would be illegal to hit you with a knee or a kick. There’s still a number of legal techniques though including punches, elbows and chokes that could harm you. That’s a hard one there to tell people to take their hands away from protecting their head. That’s a hard one to figure out, but I think that changing so guys weren’t definitely not grounded if they had just their fingers touching was a good thing, I liked that change.”
Full interview with Herb: