After all that he’s had to endure in the last several months, can it really get any worse for former UFC fighter Keith Jardine? Apparently it can. News recently broke over at MMAFighting that “The Dean of Mean” has been handed down an indefinite suspension by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the commission that oversaw the recent Shark Fights 13 event, which saw Trevor Prangley extend Jardine’s losing streak to five straight fights. The TDLR has suspended Jardine indefinitely for shoving referee Steve Armstrong pre-fight in what Armstrong himself has called a misunderstanding.
Here’s what the referee had to say: “I think he was zoning. 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. 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. He’s got a lot of fights, he should know better.”
I think this is a huge blow for Keith Jardine, and it leaves his future in MMA more obscured than ever. The suspension will obviously only last until a formal hearing is conducted, but I think the Texas athletic commission won’t waver in their fervor to make an example out of Jardine. Whether we as Jardine fans want to admit it or not, Jardine is likely staring down the barrel of a lengthy suspension for shoving Steve Armstrong.
And if we’re being perfectly honest, Jardine really should have known better. I get that he was “in the zone” and might have mistaken the referee for a drunken fan trying to grab at him. Even so, Jardine shoved with bad intentions (view a video of Jardine’s entrance here for proof) and could have hurt Armstrong. The referee is meant to be a symbol of authority, he’s the sole man in charge of keeping order in a combat sport that can get very heated and very violent. Attacking him is about the worst thing you could do, even moreso than hurting your opponent after the fight is over. At least then, the referee can stop you.
The reason I’m coming down on Jardine so hard is that I think a lot of people won’t once this story gets out and the masses start chiming in with their opinions. The last thing we need is for a majority to think “So what? It was just a little shove.” It wasn’t. Jardine broke one of the cardinal rules of MMA: obey the referee at all times. And not only did he break that rule, he broke it with authority and malice. I didn’t think it was possible for Jardine to take an even greater step backward than he did when he lost to Prangley, but this debacle may all but kill his MMA career.
And the saddest thing about all this? Jardine’s prospects still look grim even if he serves a lengthy suspension without controversy. As I’ve said in the past, I think nothing short of a complete career overhaul (including switching his camp) can save Jardine’s career now. I don’t know what Jardine did in a past life to warrant such a horrible run of bad luck lately, but I think all these recent blows are leaving the land of “humbling setbacks” and entering “nails in the coffin” territory.
And what about you, fans and friends? Do you agree or disagree with the Texas athletic commission giving Jardine an indefinite suspension?