Herb Dean: The Most Iconic MMA Referee in History?
Herb Dean has been a familiar face in the MMA scene for many years. Overseeing hundreds of bouts with his cool, collected, and focused demeanor, he’s highly regarded as one of the best mixed martial arts referees of all time. He’s presided over some of the most famous fights in MMA history (Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia at UFC 48; Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II at UFC 100), and may be more recognized than many of the fighters he’s shared the octagon with. He’s made some very important stoppages while on duty in the cage, and may be responsible for several limbs still being intact and the sparing of thousands of brain cells from certain destruction. Herb has received the honor of Referee of the Year consecutively from 2011-2014, from Fighters Only Magazine’s World MMA Awards.
Delving into the world of combative arts at just 9 years old, Herb is also an accomplished martial artist himself. Herb had a special connection to UFC from the very beginning. While training with the late Frank Trejo in 1993, A training partner of his, Zane Frazier, was called up to be on the very first UFC card. A few years after witnessing the first UFC, Herb crossed paths with Larry Landless, discovered the cohesive MMA training he had been searching for, and continued his journey. In the midst of all his time as a referee, Herb managed to accumulate his own MMA experience as well. Racking up 5 of his own ventures into the cage.
Herb is an icon. He was there at the inception of the UFC, and remains as an important figure in the world of the combative arts. In a recent video Dean (who looks like he hasn’t aged a day since we first saw him in the ring) has some fun with Brian Peterson, and shows a very cool arm drag to Darce choke. Check it out.
Another OG from the earliest days of jiu jitsu and combat is member of the Dirty Dozen (the first 12 American black belts) Chris Haueter who's series "Old School Efficient BJJ" is one of our most popular! You can get it here!