Fight Island may be done with for now but some of the controversies from the month of fights live on! Shockingly enough, the UFC managed to get in and out of Abu Dhabi without bringing Coronavirus with them. So while other sports continue to struggle to hold events during a pandemic, we actually have some proper combat sports debate to chew on. How refreshing.
UFC 251 was your classic ‘Situation Normal, All F**ked Up’ ... we saw terrible stoppages like the Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo fight and questionable judging like the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway fight going via split decision to Volkanovski. What makes these moments come and go yet other similar moments in arguably less important fights see an uproar from fans? Sometimes it just takes someone standing up to authority and saying ‘This sucks!’
That’s what Dan Hardy did at UFC on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs. Till, also known on the Twitters as Fight Island 3. He saw veteran referee Herb Dean botch a stoppage early in the night between Tanner Boser and Raphael Pessoa, and then another more egregious non-stoppage from Dean again in the Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert fight.
During the end sequence of that fight, Hardy screamed at the ref to stop the fight and dressed Dean down outside the cage afterward, telling the ref to do his job and protect the fighters. That’s led to a whole bunch of different opinions on whether “The Outlaw” had stepped outside the bounds of propriety or interfered with Dean’s duties and perhaps even negatively affected the safety of the fighters himself.
Dan Hardy followed up on the incident with a statement. Herb Dean also shared a video laying out his concerns over the incident. There’s a whole lot to unpack, and our man Case Hart tears the incident apart in this latest episode of Combat Culture, looking at it from all angles to answer the burning question everyone has: Was Dan Hardy right?