Referee Herb Dean was under quite bit of scrutiny this past weekend at UFC on ESPN 14, but John McCarthy gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Dean received criticism for his stoppage of Francisco Trinaldo’s third-round TKO of Jai Herbert on Saturday’s card, which took place at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

Most notably from color commentator Dan Hardy, who was visibly upset and screamed for Dean to “stop the fight” as Trinaldo rained down a few extra punches after knocking Herbert down.

Hardy was then seen exchanging words with Dean after the fight and since then, has doubled down on his opinion that Dean failed to protect Herbert.

Dean on the other hand, believes that he didn’t make a bad call and that Hardy was out of line for interfering from his commentary position.

Current Bellator commentator and veteran official McCarthy, who began officiating at UFC 2 in 1994, offered a defense of Dean.

“Wasn’t as bad as what Dan Hardy made it out to be,” McCarthy said on his “Weighing In” podcast.

McCarthy broke down the sequence of events and believes that Trinaldo stopping after the knockdown, is what put Dean in a difficult situation.

“He was fighting really well, but Jai gets hit and the shot that hits him goes off basically the top of his forehead, the top of his head and you see him stumble back and fall the way he did. It’s like he got hit in the head with a hammer and as the referee, it’s one of those – it’s an oddity knockdown,” McCarthy said. “It’s not your norm. But when he falls how did he fall? He fell going backwards and was he still there? Doesn’t look like it.

“But when Herb Dean sees him, he comes around and he sees him fall down like this and he sees him with his hands in a position that Herb is looking and saying (Herbert) can defend himself and Trinaldo stopped. Now Trinaldo stopped because he is a competitor, a sportsman and felt like he’s out. I shouldn’t have to hit him again, but he has to continue on. So the fact that Trinaldo didn’t immediately go after him, makes it now where Herb really can’t stop it, in a way, because he is saying he’s in a way to defend himself.”

McCarthy thinks Dean was in a lose-lose situation where had he stopped the fight right after Herbert went down, people would have also complained.

And in terms of Hardy’s criticism, McCarthy thinks the former UFC welterweight title challenger was emotionally invested and would have likely taken issue if he was the one in that position, and Dean decided to stop the fight right after the knockdown.

“Could he have stopped it? He could have,” McCarthy said. “But there would have been people complaining about him stopping it. There would have been people saying, ‘Oh, you didn’t give him the opportunity to try work his way out.’ So you’re in that, you can’t win.

“The fact that Dan Hardy is friends with Jai and likes him and watches him fight in England, he got all upset because his guy took extra shots and OK. But if Dan Hardy was the guy that got hit and went down and someone stopped it, he’d be standing up like Dominick Cruz, ‘You stopped it too soon.’ You can’t win.”

UFC senior vice president David Shaw revealed that the company plans to investigate the conflict between Dean and Hardy upon its return to Las Vegas.