Aspen Ladd appeal was based on gender discrimination

In the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 13 on 7/13 in Sacramento, CA, Germaine de Randamie dropped Aspen Ladd with a straight right, and referee Herb Dean stopped the contest. The general consensus was it was a little early but within the boundaries of a reasonable judgment call. Had Dean let Ladd take one more shot before stopping it, there would have been no question. Barring Fan Man landing on the duo at that exact moment, another blow would have landed.

Referees are there for fighter health and safety, and Dean has more experience than any of his critics, maybe more than anyone, and, unlike anyone else, had a singularly unique view on the action. Thus there was widespread bafflement when Ladd’s team appealed the stoppage, seeking to have it overturned to a No Contest. Under ordinary circumstances, officials’ decisions can only be overturned under very discrete circumstances:
•Collusion (a judge was bribed, for example);
•A math error (scorecard was added up incorrectly); and,
•Official ignorance of a rule (Herb Dean doesn’t know to stop a fight only when a fighter in danger is not intelligently defending himself).

There was further bafflement when at the hearing on Tuesday, the appeal was denied only by a close vote of 3-2. However, the argument was that the stoppage was in violation of California laws on gender discrimination.

Stopping the fight off one punch is a “violation of the anti-discrimination laws in the state of California and that is not OK, even if it’s not intentional,” explained CSAC commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez, as quoted by Marc Raimondi.

Dean appeared at the hearing, and adamantly denied that gender played a role in the stoppage. Ironically, the last time Dean received widespread criticism for a stoppage, it was Ben Askren’s win over Robbie Lawler. Robbie Lawler is not a woman.

MMA Junkie noted that the vote split along gender lines, with male Commissioner members John Carvelli, Luis Ayala, and Vernon Williams voting to uphold the stoppage, while female commission members Martha Shen-Urquidez and Mary Lehman voted to change it to a No Contest.

The win was huge for GDR – she earned a title shot vs. champ champ Amanda Nunes at UFC 245 on 12/14. Ladd next fight is vs. Yana Kunitskaya at UFC on ESPN 7 on 12/7.