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Dan Hardy releases statement on verbal dust-up with referee Herb Dean: ‘Clear negligence, in my opinion’

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Following news that the UFC will be reviewing the incident between Hardy and Dean, ‘The Outlaw’ expanded on his thoughts regarding the encounter.

UFC Fight Night: Trinaldo v Herbert Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

There were a ton of fights at UFC Fight Island 3 last night ... 15 bouts from start to finish of the card. But that number doesn’t include the little impromptu war of words initiated by former fighter turned UFC commentator Dan Hardy against referee Herb Dean.

Following two late stoppages during the prelim portion of the UFC on ESPN 14 card, Hardy took it upon himself to leave the booth and admonish Dean, yelling “I’m doing my job, now you do yours!”

You can read more about that and see footage from the broadcast surrounding the incident here.

The whole thing has set off a bit of a firestorm, with many agreeing that Dean was late but some noting UFC employees shouldn’t be attempting to sway the performance of fight officials during events. UFC senior vice president David Shaw brought that particular thorny issue up during the post-fight press conference.

“The bottom line is there’s one group of people that are able to talk to officials during the fight night,” he said. “And that’s [Marc] Ratner’s regulatory group and no one else. So we’ll see what happens next week when we get back to the office.”

Now Hardy has shared a statement via Instagram regarding the incident.

“I love Mixed Martial Arts,” he wrote. “Sometimes it doesn’t love me back though, and that’s alright. Regardless, I’ll always do everything in my power to protect it, and those dedicating themselves to it. Sometimes you may disagree with me, and that’s alright as well. I’m always going to speak my mind, and it will always be backed by what I feel in my heart.”

“If you understand what it takes to get in there, then you understand my passion and anger when I see a fighter left unprotected. It isn’t the first time it’s happened, and twice in a night is clear negligence, in my opinion. The referees job is more important than any other person in that building. It is on their shoulders to protect fighters from getting seriously hurt when they are unable to protect themselves.”

“You may just see UFC fighters in there, but I see friends, teammates, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, competing in the sport that they love. When I make a mistake, I look stupid on live TV. When a referee makes a mistake, people are left vulnerable and can be seriously damaged. That can be life-changing, and we all have someone to go home to, that loves us and wants us back in one piece.”

“Thank you for all of the kind words and messages I’ve received,” he concluded. “I am truly grateful. I’ll see you all around...”