Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White is drawing a sharp line in the sand when it comes to interaction with referees.
Last weekend at UFC on ESPN 14, veteran commentator Dan Hardy, also a former welterweight fighter, verbally attacked referee Herb Dern after a late stoppage in a lightweight bout featuring Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert (see it again HERE). Hardy disagreed with the stoppage and took his cageside presence to an entirely new level by standing up and getting into an altercation with Dean.
While UFC launched an investigation into the incident earlier this week, UFC president Dana White has yet to comment on the ordeal. That was until a reporter asked White about Hardy’s actions during UFC Vegas 5’s pre-fight media scrum (full replay HERE).
“Something went down last night in Abu Dhabi, too, where Goddard got pushed. I want to make this very clear: If you work for me, and you approach a judge or a referee or any type of official, I will fire you. You will lose your job. You will never work for me again if you do that,” said White.
Luckily for Hardy, it doesn’t seem as if UFC is going to punish him this time around. He’ll be given the chance to continue to work his commentator job and prove that he can keep a lid on his cageside correspondence with officials, especially during a time when every small outburst is clearly heard at live events.
All of that said, White is not letting anyone off the hook moving forward. The UFC president will be ready to fire anyone who verbally or physically approaches a referee during an event. White’s warning not only includes media members, but also fighters.
“Nobody has the right to (approach them). Listen, you want to criticize judges, you want to criticize referees, you didn’t agree with a decision or things like that. We love Dan (Hardy), and Dan got emotional,” explained White. “The problem is that with this setup, it’s a lot easier to do. It’s a lot easier to interact with everyone. From the fighters to the referees to the media and everybody. If you work for me in any capacity and you approach a referee or judge or any official, I will fire you that night on the spot. That can never happen here ever again.”
While much of the MMA community agrees that the Trinaldo vs. Herbert stoppage was late, Hardy should not have used his platform to take aim at Dean. After all, Dean is one of the more respected officials in the sport today and a true professional more than capable of making the right choice inside of the Octagon.
Hardy, who has been commentating for UFC for a few years now, was simply acting in an emotional state. He’ll need to check himself moving forward before White’s warning turns into a reality.
What say you, Maniacs? Did White need to issue this warning after Hardy’s actions last weekend?
Let us know!