Refereeing is a tough job, essentially forcing individuals under a shroud of unappreciation until the moment they screw up and we all turn on them.
With a job description that elicits such fan flippancy, it's only right that every so often we give credit where credit is due, a.k.a., Herb Dean during UFC 140's co-main event -- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir.
That night Dean had the unenviable job of decided whether Frank Mir would take Big Nog's arm home with him. In the end, he made the right decision -- allowing Mir's kimura to crank as far as Nogueira would allow -- but that doesn't mean there wasn't a sliver of doubt running through his head. (via Sherdog)
"In my mind, I was hoping that he would tap. Like, ‘Please, please make this easy for me. That looks like it's on.' I definitely [had a] heightened awareness at that time. I was really focused on that arm. But that's how Antonio became who he is -- he didn't get there by giving up. That guy's done things that everyone thought was impossible time and time again because he never gives up... I stopped it because I saw the arm break. The tap came after. I don't stop it when I believe it's locked on or even if I believe the guy's in jeopardy because I don't know what that person can take. I don't know what their limits are, but if I see an injury that is too dangerous for the fight to continue, that's when I'm going to stop the fight. Or if I see the fighter tap.
"In amateurs we talk about stopping it before, and I'm not even sure how I feel about that exactly. In amateurs we do stop them a little bit before we believe it's totally locked out. At the end of the day, I don't know when it's going to break. I don't know what that guy can take. So for a professional fight, that's part of being a professional fighter is knowing how to look after yourself and knowing what you can and can't take and knowing when it's time to tap... He was very calm. He's an exceptional person. Even during that, with coordinating with the physicians and him getting out of there, at some point he started taking an active role. ‘OK, Herb, I want you to help me up.' He was pretty calm through it."
Of course Big Nog was calm. All that happened was this.