Why did Leon Edwards lose a point at UFC 286? Herb Dean explained fence grabs after Kamaru Usman got away with the offense

Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 2 (Left), Herb Dean (Right) [Image courtesy: @MMAAlley on Twitter, @Helen Yee Sports on YouTube]
Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 2 (left), Herb Dean (right) [Images courtesy: @MMAAlley on Twitter, @Helen Yee Sports on YouTube]

Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman clashed in a trilogy fight in the UFC 286 headliner that went down on Saturday at the O2 Arena in London.

Despite being the champion, 'Rocky' was a +300 underdog in some sportsbooks going into his first title defense. The Birmingham native displayed sensational takedown defense to neutralize Usman's ground game and went on to score a majority decision win.

This marked Usman's second consecutive loss to Edwards after suffering a shocking last-minute KO loss at UFC 278 last August. While many had pinned down Edwards' last win as a fluke, 'Rocky' silenced his doubters by beating Usman fair and square in the rematch at UFC 286.


While Leon Edwards was warned for fence grabbing at UFC 278, he lost a point for the same at UFC 286 with referee Herb Dean as the third man inside the octagon on both occasions. Meanwhile, 'Rocky' was also warned for grabbing Usman's gloves on Saturday night, while it was 'The Nigerian Nightmare' who was guilty of the same offense in their previous encounter.

It should be noted that Dean had warned both Edwards and Usman at UFC 278 but did not penalize either of them.

Why Herb Dean chose not to penalize Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman for fence grabbing

Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman with a brutal head kick at UFC 278 to score one of the biggest upset victories of all time. With 'Rocky' likely losing most of the rounds on the scorecards, detractors brought up his 'fence grabbing' offense to undermine his victory.

Referee Herb Dean also came under fire for not penalizing either fighter despite warning Leon Edwards. The veteran referee subsequently explained his decision, detailing the potential impact of a point deduction in a close fight. Dean told Helen Yee:

"What’s the most common score that goes to the cards 29/28. So that means we have a one point sport, there’s for the majority of fights that happen that go to the cards. 29/28 is the most common score.
“So when you take a point, that means you’ve taken a win. So it’s not like in other sports where you have 12 rounds, and you take a point. It’s a much stiffer punishment and the majority of fights that happen when you take a point you’ve taken [a] win and so to have that balance there that point that grab might be, needs to significantly affect the fight and and it doesn’t always have to happen right away and so that’s those things are judgment calls with the referee.”

Catch Dean's comments below:


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Edited by Sayan Nag
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