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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
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller II UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Shane Campbell vs. Felipe Silva UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Carlos Condit vs. Demian Maia UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Chinzo Machida vs. Mario Navarro Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Keith Cutrone vs. Joey Davis Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Patricio Freire vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Curtis Millender vs. Ozzie Alvarez Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Craig Plaskett vs. Javier Garcia Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II UFC 202 2016.08.20
Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki UFC 202 2016.08.20
Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Mike Perry UFC 202 2016.08.20
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Cub Swanson UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Dennis Bermudez vs. Rony Jason UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Marcin Tybura vs. Viktor Pešta UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Gilbert Melendez vs. Edson Barboza UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Jason Knight vs. Jim Alers UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Emily Ducote vs. Bruna Vargas Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Taimanglo Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Bruna Ellen vs. Jessica Middleton Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Philipe Lins vs. Guilherme Viana Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Jack Mason vs. Jason Radcliffe Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Evangelista Santos vs. Michael Page Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Mike Cutting vs. James Gallagher Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Lando Vannata vs. Tony Ferguson UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Eric Spicely vs. Sam Alvey UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne UFC 200 2016.07.09
Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier UFC 200 2016.07.09
Cláudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk II The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Tatiana Suarez vs. Amanda Cooper The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Derrick Lewis vs. Roy Nelson UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Mitch Clarke vs. Joe Duffy UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Dewayne Diggs vs. Jason Christeson Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Joaquin Buckley vs. Chris Heatherly 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
Isao Kobayashi vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Leandro Silva vs. Jason Saggo UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Eduardo Dantas vs. Marcos Galvão II 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
Roy Boughton vs. Javy Ayala Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Chris Culley vs. Chris Saunders BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Jared Vanderaa vs. Mychal Clark BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Gabriel Green vs. Hakob Ter-Petrosyan Fight Club OC 2016.06.09
Jake Albinio vs. Jacob Rosales 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
Cole Miller vs. Alex Caceres UFC 199 2016.06.04
Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Rick Story vs. Tarec Saffiedine UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Jessica Eye vs. Sara McMann UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Melvin Manhoef vs. Rafael Carvalho Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Dan Charles vs. Augusto Sakai Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Casey Johnson vs. Brendan Raftery Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Will Noland vs. Sean Powers 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
Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker UFC 197 2016.04.23
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo UFC 197 2016.04.23
Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza 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
Joe Cronin vs. Mike Zichelle Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Benson Henderson vs. Andrey Koreshkov Bellator 153 2016.04.22
AJ McKee Jr. vs. Danilo Belluardo Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Daniele Scatizzi vs. Daniele Miceli Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Patricky Freire vs. Edimilson Souza Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Clifford Starks vs. Dave Branch WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Danny Davis Jr. vs. Abu Azaitar WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Matt Church vs. Steve Kozola WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Juan Archuleta vs. Emilio Chavez SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Christian Aguilera vs. Nick Piedmont SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Joe Hernandez vs. Jared Vanderaa SMASH Global 3 2016.03.24
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch UFC 196 2016.03.05
Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm UFC 196 2016.03.05
Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor UFC 196 2016.03.05
Roger Carroll vs. Neiman Gracie Bellator 151 2016.03.04
Gilbert Smith vs. Fernando Gonzalez 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
Vinicius Queiroz vs. Cheick Kongo Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Rebecca Ruth vs. Lena Ovchynnikova Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Bobby Cooper vs. David Rickels Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Ozzie Alvarez vs. Andrew Ramm WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Joe Barajas vs. Marlon Moraes WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Anthony Paredes vs. Albert Morales BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Kyle Estrada vs. Steve Ramirez BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Isaias Alvarado vs. Garrick Evans BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Chris Soliz vs. Alex Macedo Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Dada 5000 vs. Kimbo Slice Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Juan Torres vs. Justin Wren Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Jeremy Mahon vs. Davis Sylvester Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Andrew Sanchez vs. Myron Dennis The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.02.09
Stephen Thompson vs. Johny Hendricks UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
KJ Noons vs. Josh Burkman UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
Zach Makovsky vs. Joseph Benavidez UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
Amber Tackett vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Andy Uhrich vs. Paul Daley Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Ryan Couture vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Jodie Esquibel vs. Ashley Yoder The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.01.26
Kate Jackson vs. Irene Cabello The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.01.26
JJ Aldrich vs. Kristi Lopez The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.01.26
Megan Anderson vs. Amber Leibrock Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Cristiane Justino vs. Daria Ibragimova Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Colleen Schneider vs. Raquel Pa'aluhi Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Alida Gray vs. Angela Hill Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler UFC 195 2016.01.02
Alex Morono vs. Kyle Noke UFC 195 2016.01.02
Diego Brandão vs. Brian Ortega UFC 195 2016.01.02
Muhammed Lawal vs. Teodoras Aukštuolis RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Jaideep Singh vs. Fedor Emelianenko RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Lei’d Tapa vs. Gabrielle Garcia RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Vadim Nemkov vs. Jiří Procházka RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Jiří Procházka vs. Muhammed Lawal RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Muhammed Lawal vs. Brett McDermott RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
AJ Matthews vs. Anatoly Tokov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Kirill Sidelnikov vs. Carlos Toyota RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Goran Reljić vs. Vadim Nemkov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Valentin Moldavsky vs. Yuta Uchida RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Josh Hill vs. Bekbulat Magomedov WSOF 26 2015.12.18
Johnny Nuñez vs. David Jordan WSOF 26 2015.12.18
Lance Palmer vs. Alexandre de Almeida WSOF 26 2015.12.18
José Aldo vs. Conor McGregor UFC 194 2015.12.12
Gunnar Nelson vs. Demian Maia UFC 194 2015.12.12
Kevin Lee vs. Leonardo Santos UFC 194 2015.12.12
Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Chad Mendes vs. Frankie Edgar The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Ramazan Kuramagomedov vs. Alibek Rasulov MFP 2015.12.05
Gamzat Khiramagomedov vs. Ramazan Gamzatov MFP 2015.12.05
Nadyr Bulkadarov vs. Magomed Ankalaev MFP 2015.12.05
Bakhachali Bakhachaliev vs. Armen Gulyan MFP 2015.12.05
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Neil Magny UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Andre Fili vs. Gabriel Benitez UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Leandro Silva vs. Efrain Escudero UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Francisco France vs. Ben Reiter Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Chidi Njokuani vs. Ricky Rainey Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Melvin Manhoef vs. Hisaki Kato Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Houston Alexander vs. Guilherme Viana Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Alonzo Menifield vs. Zach Rosol Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Marcin Held vs. Will Brooks Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus III Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Dennis Olson vs. Brennan Ward Bellator 144 2015.10.23

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