UFC referee Herb Dean labelled 'a liability' after stopping fight before changing his mind

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UFC referee Herb Dean is getting criticised by fans, fighters and even president Dana White are seemingly stopping a fight before letting it continue.

Dean was in charge of the heavyweight bout between Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Ben Rothwell in Las Vegas on Saturday, where his actions led to confusion inside the Octagon.

De Lima rocked his opponent in the early exchanges with a right hand blow before following up with a flurry of punches.

Dean, sensing Rothwell was in trouble, began to put his arms around De Lima - apparently bringing an end to proceedings - before letting go.

Brazilian De Lima looked confused, wondering whether Dean had stopped the fight, before the official confirmed that he had.

White was critical of Dean

It was a strange moment that sparked criticism from Dean, who was once considered to be the referee in UFC.

White said: "Herb needs to stop touching guys unless the fight’s over. He goes in and grabs him by the waist and decides, 'Oops...'

"The good thing about this one was, that fight should’ve been stopped when he stopped it.

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"When they played it back in slow motion, he’s kind of like dancing, like he doesn’t know what to do, whether he’s going to jump in or not jump in.

"I like him personally, he’s a nice guy. He’s got to stop touching people until he’s ready to stop the fight."

'This dude is a liability'

The reaction from fighters was more stinging.

"This dude is a liability...," former welterweight contender Dan Hardy tweeted.

Current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling said: "That was SO BAD! How is the commission still allowing terrible refereeing?"

"It’s not an easy job, but dude, you can’t play hot potato with stopping fights like that. Because he looked at you?? Crazy man."

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White has criticised Dean before

It's not the first time Dean's actions have frustrated UFC's top man.

In 2019, White criticised Dean's controversial stoppage in Ben Askren's win against Robbie Lawler.

“That was a bad stoppage, it happens," White said after Dean stopped the contest while Askren was choking Lawler.

"What are you going to do? It sucks, it was a good fight.”

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