Referee Herb Dean has reviewed the footage of his call this past Saturday in the main event of "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson" and has come to the same conclusion as the one he made in a split second.
Fedor Emelianenko was unconscious, taking punishment, and out of the fight.
"If I was to do it again – if I see a fighter face down receiving shots, I'm going to step in and stop the fight," Dean today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "I can't predict how long he's going to be unconscious for."
Time, as it happened, was in short supply when Dan Henderson snuck an uppercut in on Fedor Emelianenko – after being felled himself – and caught the Russian's chin. Emelianenko pancaked on the mat as Henderson swarmed with punches. In the blink of an eye, Dean had intervened to stop the fight, and Henderson was the winner by TKO.
"Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Henderson" took place at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and its main card aired live on Showtime.
It was a blazingly fast stoppage, and many fans weren't happy with it. Online outcry immediately pointed to the shots Emelianenko took after the uppercut and the fact that he rolled to his back after the shot.
But Dean said he had already made his decision to stop the fight when he saw Emelianenko go out and had touched Henderson to initiate his wave-off prior to the roll. That Henderson landed two punches in the interim was irrelevant.
"The fight is over when he's unconscious," Dean said. "Because he comes back swiftly after I've already stepped in and stopped the fight, I can't restart the fight. Dan's still throwing punches, but once I've touched Dan, I've stopped the fight."
As post-fight pandemonium set in, Dean came to Emelianenko's aid. No words were exchanged.
"I stepped in to support him once he stood up because his balance was still not totally there," he said. "I believe his motor control was still questionable."
It was Emelianenko's third consecutive loss, and Henderson's third consecutive win using his fists. For Emelianenko's diehard fans, it was heartbreak.
Dean, though, did his job to the best of his abilities.
"Once I see an unconscious fighter receiving blows while unconscious, that's my job to prevent him from receiving more blows, and that's what I'm going to do," he said.