Caceres unintentionally caught Edwin Figueroa in the family jewels on two separate occasions: the opening stanza and in Round 2. The emphasis should be placed on unintentional, as that’s what it was. Now, if it had been a malicious attempt by Caceres to gain an advantage over Figueroa, then it would just be a case of great refereeing by Dean, but, as it turned, out it wasn’t.
The upshot of his two-point deduction has left “Bruce Leroy” with a 1-3 record in his UFC tenure, a decision nonetheless that could easily result in Caceres being released from the company if he’s not victorious in his next outing.
Rarely, if ever, is a fighter penalized two points after a second infraction. A point taken away is the norm, and a stern warning follows suit—none of which happened.
That said, his decision to call a halt to proceedings following Dan Henderson’s knockout of Fedor Emelianenko raised a few eyebrows. It was obvious that Fedor was compos mentis seconds before the stoppage. However, Dean chose to end the bout anyway, forgetting the fact that Fedor had never been stopped in his career before, meaning he should’ve been given the benefit of the doubt.
Still, it’s a decision that could be debated until the cows come home.
Herb Dean is still MMA’s premier referee. However, any more major hiccups akin to Caceres, then the jury will be out and the aforementioned accolade might just take a severe pounding.
Also, he doesn’t want to be placed in the same category as boxing’s world-renowned referee Joe Cortez, who seems to have a penchant for making some of the biggest officiating faux pas every so often.
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