Dale Kliparchuk introduces Herb Dean
Look for a video interview with Herb Dean and some footage of this seminar soon.
ENOCH, ALBERTA, Nov 24 - The River Cree Resort and Casino played host to a seminar by UFC referee Herb Dean. Typically the MMA related seminars that I have had opportunity to see have all been by fighters, and through the eyes of competitors in the octagon, cage or ring. What many people can take for granted is the role of the referee. The referee is the only other man on the mat with the fighters, so as a photojournalist it was fascinating to get into the perspective of a referee that has been working the biggest shows in the world.
Dean demonstrates technique
I got a new perspective of the fights and the role of the referee, from the perspective of referee, and not through the eyes of a photojournalist, fan, promoter, manager, or fighter, most of whom are almost always vocal about criticism directed at referees. Almost every event that I cover I almost always hear someone complain to me about the job of the referee. It is a thankless job to be sure and Dean has heard his fair share of the talk. He has refereed some of the most controversial fights in recent memory including the second Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz fight, and the Tim Sylvia vs. Frank Mir bout, both of which generated their fair share of complaints, albeit for different reasons.
Frank Mir snaps the arm of Tim Sylvia
June, 2004 - I was photographing the aforementioned Sylvia vs. Mir fight Octagon side in the UFC and when Dean called the fight without the tap I immediately questioned the validity of the call. The fans were booing, Sylvia was upset claiming he could continue, and even the doctor who came in to check out Sylvia after the bout examined him and felt that yes he could have continued. Keep in mind I was octagon side for the fight, and the Doctor actually physically examined Sylvia in the cage. Neither of us saw what Dean saw, and upon seeing the arm break on the instant replay on the jumbotron in the event center, everyone realized that Dean had made the right call. Dean 1, everyone else 0.
Attendees of the seminar
Dean started out the seminar with a powerpoint presentation going though the various duties and roles of the referee in a variety of situations. He was well spoken and carefully went through several of the potential grey area's of the job. In the second part of the seminar he took everyone to the mat area where he asked questions and went though some of clues to look for in various submission situations, and when and how to stop a fight and techniques in doing so safely. Dean is probably the most experienced referee in the sport of MMA today and it showed in the way he fielded all the questions by the various people at the seminar, taking time to answer every question thrown his way. River Cree commissionaires Al MacKechnie, Dale Kliparchuk, and Robert Moran deserve credit for being pro-active and bringing in Dean to help improve the level of referee's in their area. This seminar will no doubt benefit all commissions for whom the referee's who attended will referee for and not just their commission. Both Kliparchuk and Dean are actually working toward an accreditation program for all MMA referee's and seminars like this are absolutely a step in the right direction. I gave this seminar a 5 out of 5, so if you ever get a chance to check out a Herb Dean seminar in the future, run don't walk.