There weren’t a whole lot of memorable moments from the UFC’s debut card in Russia, but if anything stood out for all the wrong reasons, it’s veteran referee Herb Dean’s horrendously late stoppage of the C.B. Dollaway vs. Khalid Murtazaliev fight.
With Dollaway exhausted and taking serious punishment in the final minute of round two, Herb implored Dollaway to fight back. Murtazaliev kept landing ground strikes with Dollaway flattened out and not really doing anything than cover up his face, and Dean somehow let this continue until the horn sounded. A badly hurt and fatigued Dollaway was asked to get up, or else the fight would be over, and when Dean asked if he wanted to continue, presumably “yes” wasn’t the answer, so the fight was waved off.
Through all of this, analysts Dan Hardy and Paul Felder took turns on the UFC Fight Pass broadcast saying the fight should be stopped, and they were critical of Dean’s decision-making in the Octagon. On The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas, Hardy expanded more on what he thought about what transpired last Saturday.
“I feel like Herb did him a disservice there,” Hardy said (via MMA Fighting). “He could have saved him from at least 10 seconds of punches. He was curled up on his side, then he moved belly down, and for me, that’s too many, when they’re belly down, they’re done.”
The former UFC welterweight title challenger did reiterate that he believes Dean has had “an excellent career” and has refereed several of his fights over the years. That said, he believes that Dollaway was too tough for his own good, and it was up to Dean to save CB from himself.
“I watched the fight back today and I think it was 26 seconds before the end of the round, I said something about Dollaway, fatigue had taken over and he had not a lot to give,” Hardy said. “He was trying to fight back he’s a warrior, he wouldn’t give up. I always appreciate a guy who will take a beating until the referee stops it, but that’s what the referee is for is to save the fighters from themselves and from their ego and pride.”
Dollaway has now been knocked out in three of his last four fights, albeit with one of those knockouts was a disqualification win when Hector Lombard punched him after the horn sounded.