Dana White unhappy with Faber stoppage, says ref ‘made a mistake’

The UFC president often praises Herb Dean as the absolute pinnacle of refereeing in MMA, but on Saturday night said ref made a rare bad call when he prematurely stopped the fight between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber.

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UFC 169 was capped off with Renan Barao defending his bantamweight title with a TKO victory over Urijah Faber, but unfortunately it didn’t come without some controversy.

Barao dropped Faber with a big punch over halfway through the first round, sending ‘The California Kid’ crashing face first to the mat.  Barao followed up with a barrage of punches as Faber grabbed onto one of the Brazlian’s legs, and covered up his head to avoid any damage from the litany of hammer fists being launched from the champion.

Barao’s assault continued as he looked up at referee Herb Dean as if to ask what he had to do to get a finish, and a moment later he stepped in and stopped the fight.  As soon as Barao got up to celebrate, Faber too popped to his feet protesting the stoppage after just putting his thumb up as if to tell the referee ‘I’m okay’.

The stoppage seemed to mar an otherwise flawless performance from Barao, who remains undefeated in the UFC while defending his bantamweight title for a third consecutive time.

Faber was blocking those shots, he gave the thumbs up and the guy’s the best in the business as far as I’m concerned — tonight he made a mistake.

--Dana White

After the fights were over, UFC president Dana White once again praised Dean as the best referee working in MMA today, but he believes the stoppage was not a good call considering how Faber was defending himself on the ground and not absorbing too much punishment.

"You’ve heard me up here a million times talk about Herb Dean.  I think he’s the best referee in the business.  He rarely ever makes mistakes, but he made a mistake tonight," White said at the UFC 169 post-fight press conference.

"Faber was blocking those shots, he gave the thumbs up and the guy’s the best in the business as far as I’m concerned — tonight he made a mistake."

What’s done is done: The official Barao vs. Faber scorecard.

Faber was also understandably upset at the stoppage, but was all class when speaking about Dean following the fight.  Throughout his career, Faber has had more than his fair share of experiences dealing with the well-known referee and while he didn’t agree with his decision on Saturday, overall he knows it was just a judgment call he got wrong this time.

"This is the sport we’re in," Faber said.  "It’s funny, Herb Dean was the referee when I lost my first fight against Tyson Griffin, I did like a cage dive into a steel bar, I ended up getting like seven staples in my head in the first eight seconds and I almost got knocked out like two or three times and he let me fight through it all.

"I’ve had wrestling matches before where I’ve been dazed before and had to do four or five more matches in the same day.  So it’s unfortunate being a guy that’s very tough and pride myself on that, in a big show like the one that we had today where I don’t get to fight till the bitter end."

Regardless of the ending, White said that there’s no need for an immediate rematch and they don’t have any plans of putting Faber back in with Barao any time soon.  He will just chalk this up to a rare case of Herb Dean making an incorrect judgment call and they will move on to the next one.