One of the most anticipated features of the UFC 235 bill was a welterweight showdown between former UFC champ Robbie Lawler and former ONE and Bellator champ Ben Askren. Regrettably, this bout ended in controversy.
Mid-way through the first round, Askren locked up a bulldog choke that appeared to lull Lawler to sleep. After referee Herb Dean stopped the action, however, Lawler protested, and the replay revealed that he might not have actually gone out.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show, Herb Dean defended his decision to stop this Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren fight.
“When I see some chokes, a rear-naked choke, especially with the guy on the back face up, I take a sigh of relief,” Dean said (transcript via Bloody Elbow). “My job just got so much easier. It’s not like he’s gonna go out and in a second, take some extreme amount of damage.
“He may go out, I’ll have a second to make sure – not even a second – a half a breath, to make sure he’s OK. And then let it go out and he’s not gonna take any other damage. A bulldog choke – anytime you have a choke where there’s pressure on the neck and to see the spine backwards like that, that’s a rough situation for me.
“So I see someone go limp, and I know that on top of it, they’re no longer putting tension on their neck, and their neck is just being bent, I can’t see that I should do something different than that.
“With that same situation with the arm going limp with that type of a choke on someone, I would think the arm should be doing something else. At this time, I don’t think that I should do something different.”
What did you think of the stoppage in the UFC 235 fight between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler? Where do you stand on the issue after hearing this explanation from Herb Dean?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/11/2019.