Boxing has been rife with terrible judges and referees – just look at the past two Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fights for questionable judging. It’s generally not such a big deal in mixed martial arts but can play a factor. For Saturday night’s UFC 229 mega-bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) and Conor McGregor (21-3), Herb Dean has been selected as the referee.
Dean is a well-respected veteran who has been a referee in many major UFC fights. It will be his sixth McGregor fight, including Conor’s upset loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. Dean was recently criticized by CB Dollaway for his officiating in Dollaway’s second-round TKO loss to Khalid Murtazaliev at UFC Moscow on September 15. It wasn’t that Dollaway thought the fight shouldn’t have been stopped – but that it should have been stopped earlier because he was taking so much punishment. You don’t hear that often.
The judges will be Sal D’Amato, Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo. Cleary was a judge in Khabib’s last fight, a unanimous-decision victory over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223 in April. Cleary also worked McGregor’s UFC 202 rematch majority-decision victory over Diaz and scored the fight for McGregor. D’Amato also worked the Khabib-Iaquinta fight. Cleary and D’Amato have combined to work 29 bouts this year. This will be only No. 3 for Kamijo.
Here’s hoping neither the referee nor judges are remembered after Saturday. A total of 10 of Khabib’s wins are by decision. Two of McGregor’s are and all three losses by submission.
Nurmagomedov is the -155 favorite on the latest Khabib vs. McGregor odds for UFC 229 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com to retain the lightweight championship, while McGregor is +125 to regain that belt. There’s a slight moneyline consensus on the Russian to stay unbeaten.
As of this writing, the father and trainer of Khabib, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, has been refused a United States visa to attend the fight after an interview at the American embassy in Istanbul on Friday. Khabib had previously said he didn’t think his father would be allowed in the country.
Not including his boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., McGregor hasn’t closed as an underdog since really bursting onto the scene by taking the featherweight title from Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds at UFC 194. McGregor generally closed around -105 there with Aldo at -125. This will be the shortest price on Khabib since he was a +125 underdog to Gleison Tibau at UFC 148 six years ago. Khabib won that by unanimous decision.
Source: Heavy Sports