Renan Barao made a statement as the undisputed bantamweight champion at UFC 169 on Saturday in New Jersey, but was his victory over Urijah Faber called too soon by referee Herb Dean?
The champion looked superior from start to finish, exposing the challanger with overwhelming speed and accuracy. Midway through the first round Barao dropped Faber with a hard right hand and pounced on his wounded opponent.
As Barao began to unleash a flurry of strikes, Faber turtled on his hands and knees and tucked his arm against the side of his head to protect himself. Dean stopped the fight at 3:42 of the opening round after Barao landed more than a dozen blows to the shoulder, forearm and neck area of the huddled Faber.
A conscious and alert Faber looked up at Dean in confusion at the stoppage. He said in the post-fight interview that he assured the referee he was still fighting despite a lack of movement during Baroa's onslaught.
The UFC defines a knockout as a fighter who is knocked down and "either unconscious, disoriented or unable to intelligently defend himself."
Also that a referee is "the sole arbiter of a contest and is the only individual authorized to stop a contest."
The question is, does a lack of movement mean a lack of intelligent or conscious defending?
Barao believed he had won, while Faber thought he had more time.
Did Dean miss the mark with his stoppage of the fight, or was his judgment spot on?
As always, it's Your! Call