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Herb Dean on Bisping mouthpiece controversy: Maybe he's not aware of the rules

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Veteran referee Herb Dean responds to Michael Bisping's blame regarding UFC London's mouthpiece controversy.

Middleweight contender Michael Bisping may have walked out victorious against Anderson Silva during last weekend’s UFC Fight Night London, but he did so with a busted nose and stitches on his face.

The bulk of the damage that was inflicted upon ‘The Count’ happened during the dying seconds of the third round when he dropped his mouthpiece. Bisping motioned to referee Herb Dean, notifying him about what happened, but Dean instead let the action continue.

Silva then capitalized on those few moments of inattention by throwing a flying knee that landed squarely on Bisping’s face, immediately opening a deep gash.

During a post-fight interview, Bisping pinned the blame on Dean, questioning the latter’s abilities as a referee. Dean has since responded to the fighter’s remarks in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour.

"Well, I don’t know, maybe he’s not aware of the rules. A lot of fighters, most of them read the fouls but they don’t read all the rules on the mechanics," Dean said. "Maybe he wasn’t aware of that. But the rule is to replace the mouthpiece during a lull in the action."

Dean also explained why he let the fight carry on, despite Bisping’s motions to get his attention.

"That’s the way the mechanic works, is that you replace the mouthpiece during a lull in the action. And [Bisping] signaled once, and Anderson was actually in the process of attacking him," he explained. For a lot of reasons that are pretty evident you can’t stop to replace the mouthpiece during a heated exchange, and that qualified as a heated exchange."

"If we were doing that, we’d have guys getting their bell rung, spitting out the mouthpiece to get a little extra time or sometimes you’re feeling a little tired, just spit your mouthpiece out," Dean continued. "So obviously we can’t do that in the middle of an exchange."

As far as determining whether or not Dean should've stopped the fight after Bisping was knocked down, he said Bisping wasn't unconscious when he fell.

"Well, [Silva] hit him with the knee and dropped him, and then he walked off and started to celebrate," he said. "He had been dropped, but you know, in MMA we don't stop the match just because someone gets dropped. I saw that when he fell he was not unconscious. He was facing Anderson. Anderson didn't give him a threat to protect himself from, but -- I don't want to start playing what if, what if he attacked and whatnot -- the bottom line is he didn't attack. The round ended and, because Anderson was celebrating, there was some confusion as to what was going on.

(Transcription via MMA Fighting)