FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/12: Herb Dean defends Askren-Lawler stoppage, Israel Adesanya on ‘hunting’ GOAT Jon Jones, BJ Penn’s team releases statement on abuse allegations, much more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Mar 2, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robbie Lawler (red gloves) and Ben Askren (blue gloves) during UFC 235 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

No Regrets

Referee Herb Dean is often heralded as one of the best in the business, but even he is immune from criticism. Dean faced much backlash for his decision to stop last month’s Ben Askren-Robbie Lawler fight. Askren had Lawler in a choke, Lawler’s arm dropped at one point, but when Dean went to check Lawler’s arm afterwards, he seemed to show some life. Nonetheless, Dean stopped the fight and Askren got the win.

Dean made a rare public appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast to explain the events in the cage that night. Dean explained that all chokes aren’t measured equally when making the call to stop a 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. My job just got so much easier,” Dean said (transcribed by MMAFighting). “This guy, it’s not like he’s gonna go out and then 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 okay. 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 they’re bending the c-spine (cervical 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.”

While some will still contest that choice, Dean stands by the call he made that night and he explained to Rogan that he feels he has a greater responsibility than just the outcome of a fight.

“We take it really serious, I take it really serious,” he said. “To me, I feel that I have a sacred trust. I feel that it’s one of these positions that, like — 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, and all to meet their dreams and hopes, and I need to balance that with their safety.”

Friday Notebook

-Israel Adesanya responded to suggestions he may be matched up with Jon Jones one day. “It does tickle my loins,” Adesanya said (via MMAFighting). “It does make me feel some type of way. I like challenges. [Jones] is the GOAT right now, right? I’ve already killed one GOAT, I’m hunting the next.”

-Through his website,, BJ Penn’s representatives released a statement on his behalf after news broke this week that his girlfriend filed for a restraining order and alleges years of abuse from Penn. “BJ is in a highly-contested child custody case involving his two young daughters. The order of protection has made serious allegations against BJ. The allegations are so, misleading, hurtful and false that any further comment by BJ or about BJ would cause more damage to the well-being of his children and potentially further inflame the pending custody proceedings. BJ and his family ask that you respect their privacy at this very difficult time.”

-Everyone made weight for UFC 236 tomorrow night from Atlanta.

-ONE FC: Roots of Honor took place this morning from Indonesia. Full results are below:

(c) Martin Nguyen knocked out Narantungalag Jadambaa with a flying knee at 1:07 of round two (ONE Featherweight World Title)

Joshua Pacio knocks out Yosuke Saruta at 2:43 of round four to reclaim the ONE Strawweight World Championship

Tatsumitsu Wada defeats Gustavo Balart via unanimous decision (ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix quarter-final)

Leandro Issa defeats Fu Chang Xin via armbar at 3:03 of round one (mixed martial arts – 68-kilogram catch weight)

Andrei Stoica defeats Ibrahim El Bouni via unanimous decision (ONE Super Series kickboxing – light heavyweight)

James Nakashima defeated Luis Santos via TKO at 56 seconds of round two (mixed martial arts – welterweight)

Edward Kelly defeats Sung Jong Lee via TKO at 2:51 of round two (mixed martial arts – featherweight)

Anderson Silva knocks out Andre Meunier via knockout at of 1:14 round one (ONE Super Series kickboxing – heavyweight)

Kwon Won Il knocks out Eric Kelly at 19 seconds of round one (mixed martial arts – featherweight)

Saemapetch Fairtex defeats Ognjen Topic via majority decision (ONE Super Series Muay Thai – bantamweight)

Xie Bin defeats Ahmad Qais Jasoor via D’Arce choke at 2:27 of round two (mixed martial arts – bantamweight)

Niko Soe defeats Eko Roni Saputra via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 3:03 of round one (mixed martial arts – flyweight)

Lerdsila Phuket Top Team defeats Kohei “Momotaro” Kodera via unanimous decision (ONE Super Series Muay Thai – flyweight)

Bi Nguyen defeats Dwi Ani Retno Wulan via TKO at 3:55 of round one (mixed martial arts – women’s atomweight)

Ramon Gonzales submits Akihiro Fujisawa via guillotine choke at 1:19 of round one (mixed martial arts – flyweight)

-Mairbek Taisumov has accepted a six-month USADA suspension after testing positive for stanozolol from his Sept. 2018 fight with Desmond Green. The suspension was retroactive to March 8, 2018 meaning his time is already up.

Fight Announcements

-Danny Roberts vs. Michel Pereira is set for UFC Rochester on May 18.

-Mike Shipman vs. Costello Van Steenis, John Redmond vs. George Tokkos, Nathan Greyson vs. Frans Mlambo, and Galore Bofando vs. Richard Kiely have all been added to Bellator London on June 22.

In case you missed it

NEW PODCAST: MMATorch Today with David McGrath – James Lynch joins to talk TJ Dillashaw’s suspension, Conor and Khabib on Twitter and preview UCF 236

ROUNDTABLE: What’s the ceiling for bare-knuckle boxing?

NEW PODCAST: MMA Fight Picks with Aaron Weinbaum for UFC 236

ROUNDTABLE: Staff picks for Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier UFC 236 main event

WEINBAUM: The UFC is abandoning an important part of their fanbase With ESPN+

UFC 236 Embedded episode 4

ONE FC: Roots of Honor Full Card

UFC Seasonal Press Conference

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