At UFC 235 it seemed Robbie Lawler was about to hand Ben Askren his first ever MMA loss, but towards the end of the first round, Askren would mount a comeback and lock in a bulldog choke on Lawler.
As soon as that choke was locked in, controversy would arise, as it looked to referee Herb Dean that Lawler was out following his arm and body going limp. The fight would stop and Askren would have his first win inside the Octagon.
Mere nanoseconds after Dean stopped the fight, Lawler would pop up and claim he was in no way out, leading to many arguing and analyzing the finish of that fight.
On Wednesday, Dean would address the issue on the Joe Rogan MMA Show, speaking with UFC commentator, Joe Rogan.
“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 told Rogan, “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,” he continued. “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.”
Looking back at the footage, if Lawler was more active in looking to defend the choke, he’d have let the fight proceed. “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,” he said. “At this time, I don’t think that I should do something different.”
“That is the tough part about (our job),” Dean continued. “You’re evaluating a situation, you’re evaluating a threat to the person, if there’s a threat coming, how well can they deal with it. There’s a lot of stuff going on there.
“Our athletes are not stupid people. A lot of them could be doing a lot of things with their life, and they’ve chosen this path and they take time from their family, they take time away from other careers where they could be progressing. All to meet their dreams and hopes, and I need to balance that with their safety.”
Quotes: MMA Mania