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Refereed by John McCarthy

Renowned mixed martial arts referee "Big" John McCarthy is easily the most recognizable, beloved, and by many measures the most experienced referee in professional cagefighting. His resume stretches all the way back to March 11, 1994, where at UFC 2: No Way Out, he served as the lone referee for every single bout on the sixteen man, single-elimination card eventually won by defending champ Royce Gracie. In a time in which "no-holds-barred" fighting's defined ruleset was (by definition) virtually nonexistent, no judges or athletic comissions presided over the events, and the borders between entertainment and chaos in the cage were fuzzy at best, Big John served as the original peacemaker and arbiter of last resort, and his decisiveness, "take charge" attitude and early knowledge of submission holds played a major role in maintaining MMA's tenuous claim to sporting legitimacy.

"Big" John's trademark proclamation at the beginning of each bout: "[Fighter 1], are you ready? [Fighter 2], are you ready? Let's get it on!" has always been synonymous with the nervous buzz of excitement just before a big UFC fight, even during a period from December 2007 through August 2010 in which McCarthy was temporarily estranged from the sport's biggest promotion. Much like boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer, who carried his trademark "Let's get ready to ruuuuumble!" fight call with him across various promotions, "Big" John's "Let's get it on!" is used by him and him alone.

Born October 12, 1962, McCarthy was ably suited to the role of referee when the UFC began airing fights in the early 1990s. He had been a police officer with the Los Angelese Police Department since 1985, and held a Tactics & Self-Defense Instruction Certification that he earned in 1993. He was also a practicing martial artist, and one of the few individuals outside the Gracie family familiar with the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (McCarthy was awarded his black belt in BJJ in January 2007). Finally, he stood an imposing 6'4" and 240 lbs., important for keeping order in the UFC's rough-and-tumble infancy. From the early goings, his judgments were decisive and generally correct in the cage. He was able to identify threats from today's most recognizable Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu finishes, including triangle chokes and armbars, at a time when most of the audience and announcers could not.

Perennially one of the most sought-after autographs in MMA, McCarthy is the first MMA referee to experience legitimate crossover success as a television and cultural personality and general ambassador of the sport. In addition to officiating bouts for Affliction, Impact FC and Strikeforce, McCarthy held announcing duties for Affliction and did television work for Canada's Fight Network. He played a major role in drafting the modern day Unified Rules of Combat and helped facilitate their passage in a majority of U.S. states. He is a multiple-time speaker at the national Association of Boxing Comissions, where he has argued eloquently for the acceptance of MMA as a legitimate sport, and teaches seminars for the International Professional Ring Officials Association (IPRO). As a side note, McCarthy was also allegedly approached more than a decade ago by officials from Japan's Pride Fighting Championships, then the biggest MMA promotion in the world, and offered a contract to fight under the promotion in a "worked" match, allegedly to be held against Japan's Nobuhiko Takada. McCarthy turned the offer down.

"Big" John McCarthy continues to referee for the UFC and other promotions to this day, and despite refereeing more UFC title bouts than any other referee by far, has maintained a reputation admirably free from controversy over his decisions in the cage. Portions of this article draw on information from John McCarthy's page on Wikipedia, available at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCarthy_(mixed_martial_arts), and from his personal website, located at www.bigjohnmccarthy.com/.

Refereed by John McCarthy

Bout   Event   Date   Org
Gaston Bolanos vs. Abner Perez Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Veta Arteaga vs. Brooke Mayo Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Josh Koscheck vs. Mauricio Alonso Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Jessica Middleton vs. Alice Yauger Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Chidi Njokuani vs. Melvin Guillard Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Jordan Young vs. Chris Harris Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Derek Campos vs. Derek Anderson Bellator 170 2017.01.21
BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Ben Saunders vs. Court McGee UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Drakkar Klose vs. Devin Powell UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Neil Magny vs. Johny Hendricks UFC 207 2016.12.30
Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt UFC 207 2016.12.30
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine UFC 207 2016.12.30
Michelle Waterson vs. Paige VanZant UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
James Moontasri vs. Alex Morono UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Brad Pickett vs. Urijah Faber UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC 206 2016.12.10
Nikita Krylov vs. Misha Cirkunov UFC 206 2016.12.10
Matt Brown vs. Donald Cerrone UFC 206 2016.12.10
Anthony Hamilton vs. Francis Zavier N'Gannou UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Marc Diakiese vs. Frankie Perez UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
John Teixeira vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Emily Ducote vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren II Bellator 166 2016.12.02
Ben Reiter vs. Chris Honeycutt Bellator 166 2016.12.02
Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 165 2016.11.19
Francis Carmont vs. Linton Vassell Bellator 165 2016.11.19
Jake Roberts vs. Carrington Banks Bellator 165 2016.11.19
Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad UFC 205 2016.11.12
Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez UFC 205 2016.11.12
Michael Johnson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 205 2016.11.12
Avi Baron vs. Alex Nikulin Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Scott Cleve vs. Noad Lahat Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Zane Clerk vs. Haim Gozali Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Sol Renato vs. Alex Trofimov Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Elazar Tariku vs. Ron Becker Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Phil Davis vs. Liam McGeary Bellator 163 2016.11.04
Neiman Gracie vs. Rudy Bears Bellator 163 2016.11.04
Cody Miskell vs. Tyrell Fortune Bellator 163 2016.11.04
Kendall Grove vs. Alexander Shlemenko Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Ryan Couture vs. Goiti Yamauchi Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Bobby Brents vs. Chase Gormley Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Nate Marquardt vs. Tamdan McCrory UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Joachim Christensen vs. Luis Henrique da Silva UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
John Dodson vs. John Lineker UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Zak Ottow vs. Josh Burkman UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Antônio Silva vs. Roy Nelson UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Phillipe Nover vs. Renan Barão UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Thiago Santos vs. Eric Spicely UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Cheick Kongo vs. Tony Johnson Jr. Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Sirwan Kakai vs. Joe Warren Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Waylon Bronstrup vs. Garrett Scott Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Felipe Silva vs. Shane Campbell UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon II UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Patricio Freire vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Joey Davis vs. Keith Cutrone Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Mario Navarro vs. Chinzo Machida Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Ozzie Alvarez vs. Curtis Millender Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Javier Garcia vs. Craig Plaskett Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cody Garbrandt UFC 202 2016.08.20
Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II UFC 202 2016.08.20
Mike Perry vs. Hyun Gyu Lim UFC 202 2016.08.20
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Cub Swanson UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Viktor Pešta vs. Marcin Tybura UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Rony Jason vs. Dennis Bermudez UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Kailin Curran vs. Felice Herrig UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Gilbert Melendez vs. Edson Barboza UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Jason Knight vs. Jim Alers UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Joe Taimanglo vs. Darrion Caldwell Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Guilherme Viana vs. Philipe Lins Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Bruna Ellen vs. Jessica Middleton Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Bruna Vargas vs. Emily Ducote Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Evangelista Santos vs. Michael Page Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Mike Cutting vs. James Gallagher Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Jason Radcliffe vs. Jack Mason Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Eric Spicely vs. Sam Alvey UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Lando Vannata vs. Tony Ferguson UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier UFC 200 2016.07.09
Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez UFC 200 2016.07.09
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Cláudia Gadelha II The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Tatiana Suarez vs. Amanda Cooper The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Joe Duffy vs. Mitch Clarke UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Derrick Lewis vs. Roy Nelson UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Justin Lawrence vs. Isao Kobayashi Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Dewayne Diggs vs. Jason Christeson Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Chris Heatherly vs. Joaquin Buckley Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Carl Seumanutafa vs. Matt Mitrione Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Patricky Freire vs. Michael Chandler II Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Leandro Silva vs. Jason Saggo UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Stephen Thompson vs. Rory MacDonald UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Marcos Galvão vs. Eduardo Dantas II Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Roy Boughton vs. Javy Ayala Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Carrington Banks vs. CJ Keith Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Mikkel Parlo vs. Chris Honeycutt Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Jared Vanderaa vs. Mychal Clark BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Chris Culley vs. Chris Saunders BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Jake Albinio vs. Jacob Rosales Fight Club OC 2016.06.09
Hakob Ter-Petrosyan vs. Gabriel Green Fight Club OC 2016.06.09
Ricardo Lamas vs. Max Holloway UFC 199 2016.06.04
Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold II UFC 199 2016.06.04
Alex Caceres vs. Cole Miller UFC 199 2016.06.04
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Sara McMann vs. Jessica Eye UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Casey Johnson vs. Brendan Raftery Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Will Noland vs. Sean Powers Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Muhammed Lawal vs. Phil Davis Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Don Mohammed vs. Martin Sano Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Jeremiah Labiano vs. Josh San Diego Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza UFC 197 2016.04.23
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo UFC 197 2016.04.23
Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker UFC 197 2016.04.23
Keith Richardson vs. Matt Bessette Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Jay Perrin vs. Blair Tugman Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Jeremie Holloway vs. Michael Page Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Benson Henderson vs. Andrey Koreshkov Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Joe Cronin vs. Mike Zichelle Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Danilo Belluardo vs. AJ McKee Jr. Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Edimilson Souza vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Daniele Scatizzi vs. Daniele Miceli Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Clifford Starks vs. Dave Branch WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Matt Church vs. Steve Kozola WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Danny Davis Jr. vs. Abu Azaitar WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Emilio Chavez vs. Juan Archuleta SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Nick Piedmont vs. Christian Aguilera SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Jared Vanderaa vs. Joe Hernandez SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate UFC 196 2016.03.05
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch UFC 196 2016.03.05
Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor UFC 196 2016.03.05
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Gilbert Smith Bellator 151 2016.03.04
Neiman Gracie vs. Roger Carroll Bellator 151 2016.03.04
Lanchana Green vs. Amanda Cooper The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.03.01
Manny Meraz vs. Andre Fialho Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Cheick Kongo vs. Vinicius Queiroz Bellator 150 2016.02.26
David Rickels vs. Bobby Cooper Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Rebecca Ruth vs. Lena Ovchynnikova Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Joe Barajas vs. Marlon Moraes WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Ozzie Alvarez vs. Andrew Ramm WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Kyle Estrada vs. Steve Ramirez BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Anthony Paredes vs. Albert Morales BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Isaias Alvarado vs. Garrick Evans BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20

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