Dean: “Shamrock Was Out”

By Jake Rossen Jul 12, 2006
The more raucous boos on Saturday’s UFC 61: “Bitter Rivals” card were reserved for referee Herb Dean (Pictures), who oversaw the second confrontation between rivals Ken Shamrock (Pictures) and Tito Ortiz (Pictures).

Months of hype and harsh words were distilled into just 78 seconds of action when Dean halted the bout after Shamrock received a series of elbows from Ortiz. Though Shamrock appeared listless and unable to stop the attack, his casual post-fight demeanor incited the roughly 12,400 in attendance to direct their ire at Dean.

“I stopped the fight because he received five elbows without any attempt to defend himself,” Dean explained to Tuesday afternoon. “I believe he was unconscious. I think he was out with the first one.”

After a brief scuffle, Ortiz deposited Shamrock on his back and used arching elbows to deliver five clean strikes directly to Shamrock’s face. “At that critical time, he was unable to defend himself,” Dean recounted. “I was certain of that. I can’t think of another reason to take five elbows without doing anything else.”

Once Dean separated the athletes, Shamrock popped up and appeared to be unfazed by the barrage.

“I can’t be accountable for how fast he’s going to recover,” Dean said.

Upon review of the fight and consulting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Dean believes he made the right — if not popular — choice.

“The commission believed it was a good call,” the referee said. “I’m not popular right now, but I don’t think it was a bad call. I hated to see the fight end like that. I’ll let guys go as long as they’re able to fight back. But at that point, he wasn’t.

“I’m going to have to make calls that people aren’t going to be happy about. That’s my job. I can’t do what everyone else wants. It’s my conscience.”

Vacationing with family this week, Shamrock was unavailable for comment.
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