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Referee Speaks Out On Altercation With Keith Jardine

Things keep going from bad to worse for down-on-his-luck fighter Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine. The Greg Jackson-trained fighter lost his fifth bout in a row this past weekend at Shark Fights 13 to fellow UFC veteran Trevor Prangley. Added to that, a zoned-in Jardine actually shoved the referee who was attempting to perform the standard pre-fight, cage-side examination and may have earned himself an indefinite suspension as a result. The referee in question, Steve Armstrong, recently spoke with and explained his side of the incident.

“I think he was zoning,” said Armstrong. “He was fixing to fight a big fight. I was trying to stop him, and he smirked and pushed me. I said, ‘You push me again, you’re DQ’d.’ Then he patted my shoulder like he realized what was going on. I think he got caught in the moment.”

For his part, Armstrong said that while he doesn’t agree with Jardine’s actions that he wasn’t really planning on seeking out any disciplinary action against the fighter. The decision was quickly removed from his hands though, as the state athletic commissioners were stationed only a short distance away and in full view of Jardine’s reactionary shove.

“They saw it,” said Armstrong. “I don’t know if I would’ve even brought it up. But the commissioner and assistant commissioner were sitting 10 feet away so they were watching the whole thing. They asked me why he pushed me. I said, ‘I don’t know.’ And I really don’t know. It wasn’t something I did, that’s for sure.”

Armstrong is not happy that Jardine is facing disciplinary action, but told MMAFighting that a fighter of Jardine’s experience should have known better and should have submitted to the quick screening like all other fighters must.

“He’s got a lot of fights, he should know better,” he said. “There’s no excuse but I didn’t want to see him get suspended indefinitely. I just wanted to know, ‘Hey, do you have a mouthpiece and a cup on?’ In every fight that’s checked, so this is nothing new to Keith. We’re always going to look at your gloves and do those checks. That’s all very standard, going through that checkpoint.”

Jardine has put his fate (at least in terms of the immediate future of his MMA career) in the hands of the Texas State Athletic Commission, and all Armstrong can do is hope for the best.

“I think the state doesn’t want anyone else to do this, so they may be making a statement that this is not the way you conduct yourself,” Armstrong said. “And it’s true, you have to conduct yourself as a professional. But I believe everyone makes mistakes. You’d have to look at his career and see if he has a habit of doing these things. If it’s his first offense, it’s not a habitual thing. He seems like pretty much a gentleman. I think he got carried away in a big moment, in a big fight. I wish him the best. I didn’t take it personally, but it’s not up to me.”