UFC 211’s preliminary fight between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier caused quite a stir. Alvarez threw three illegal knee strikes while Poirier was down on the mat, which led to the fight being ruled as a no contest after the second round.
Herb Dean was the third man inside the Octagon for that fight, and he decided on the verdict under the belief that Alvarez did not throw the shots with intention. A good number of spectators, meanwhile, believe that the former lightweight champion should have been slapped with a disqualification.
The veteran referee appeared on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. When asked if he stands by his decision, he gave an affirmative answer, without missing a beat.
“Of course, I do. I definitely stand by that, ruling it a no contest,” Dean told Ariel Helwani (via MMA Fighting).
According to the rules, a referee only merits a disqualification towards a foul committed if he or she deems it to be intentional. According to Dean, Alvarez’s strike was not, which is why he made his decision.
He also explained how he considers a “downed opponent.”
“His head was over Poirier’s back. I can’t imagine a way where he’d be able to see his hands or his knees,” Dean said. “I believe that he was fighting in earnest and thought that the fighter was not grounded. There’s no way I could say that for certain. I attempted to warn him before he went in with that knee, but it was loud in there and I can’t say that he heard me.
“I don’t believe that he was trying to fight outside of the rules when he threw that knee. I can’t say that he was.”
“I rule a downed opponent as supporting weight,” Dean explained. “Obviously if someone’s weight is being supported by their feet and the fence and then they reach down and touch their fingers, there’s lots of gamesmanship that used to go on with that.”
“So we started quite a long time ago, it’s very established, that we rule a downed opponent as supporting weight. Supporting weight means if you snatch their hand away, they’re gonna fall on their face.”
From his end, Poirier plans to appeal the fight result, and has called for a rematch with Alvarez.