Dana White lays down the law on Hardy-Dean confrontation
At UFC on ESPN 14, UFC commentator and (hopefully not former) fighter Dan Hardy got upset at referee Herb Dean's stoppage of Tanner Boser vs. Raphel Pessoa fight, and furious at Dean's stoppage of Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert. After the second bout, Hardy shouted out, "STOP THE FIGHT" which could not be missed in the empty arena. Then Hardy voiced his disapproval face to face with Dean immediately after the fight.
A highly unusual back and forth via multiple separate interviews then followed, with Dean asking Hardy to take off the Superman cape, and noting that yelling the referee should come only from the cageside doctors or officials. Hardy continued to argue that this stoppage was woefully late.
Remember when Paul Daley took a poke at referee Dan Miragliotta a split second after the Josh Koscheck fight a decade ago, and was never seen in the Octagon again? That was the essence of White's warning to Hardy.
“I want to make this very clear: If you work for me, and you approach a judge or a referee or any type of official, I will fire you,” said White. “You will lose your job. You will never work for me again if you do that. Nobody has the right to – listen, you want to criticize judges, you want to criticize referees, you didn’t agree with a decision or things like that – we love Dan. Dan got emotional. The problem is now with this setup it’s a lot easier to do. It’s a lot easier to interact with everybody, from the fighters to the refs to the media and everybody.
“If you work for me in any capacity, and you approach a referee or judge or official, I will fire you that night on the spot. That can never happen here ever again.”
No action will be taken against Hardy for the incident, but the zero-tolerance policy is clear.
“I’m speaking to [Hardy] right now,” said White. “I’m speaking to everybody. Don’t ever do it ever again. And if you’re a fighter, and you put your hands on or threaten any official, you will never, ever fight here again. Period.”
h/t Mike Bohn and Ken Hathaway for MMA Junkie