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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
Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson UFC 187 2015.05.23
Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga UFC 187 2015.05.23
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Curtis Millender Bellator 137 2015.05.15
Ricky Rainey vs. Jesse Juarez Bellator 137 2015.05.15
Virgil Zwicker vs. Razak Al-Hassan Bellator 137 2015.05.15
Faith Van Duin vs. Amanda Bell Invicta FC 12 2015.04.24
Livia Renata Souza vs. Katja Kankaanpaa Invicta FC 12 2015.04.24
Latoya Walker vs. Peggy Morgan Invicta FC 12 2015.04.24
Sijara Eubanks vs. Gina Begley Invicta FC 12 2015.04.24
Shannon Sinn vs. Maureen Riordon Invicta FC 12 2015.04.24
Will Brooks vs. Dave Jansen Bellator 136 2015.04.10
Steve Ramirez vs. Jonathan Santa Maria Bellator 136 2015.04.10
Marcin Held vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy Bellator 136 2015.04.10
Matthew Martinez vs. James Stahl Fight Club OC 2015.04.02
Stephen Banaszak vs. Brad Mitchell Bellator 135 2015.03.27
Francis Carmont vs. Guilherme Viana Bellator 135 2015.03.27
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Alejandro Villalobos Bellator 135 2015.03.27
Marcos Galvão vs. Joe Warren II Bellator 135 2015.03.27
Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare UFC Fight Night 62 2015.03.21
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Akbarh Arreola UFC Fight Night 62 2015.03.21
Leonardo Santos vs. Tony Martin UFC Fight Night 62 2015.03.21
Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh UFC 184 2015.02.28
Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano UFC 184 2015.02.28
Valmir Lázaro vs. James Krause UFC 184 2015.02.28
Norifumi Yamamoto vs. Roman Salazar UFC 184 2015.02.28
Brennan Ward vs. Curtis Millender Bellator 134 2015.02.27
Tamdan McCrory vs. Jason Butcher Bellator 134 2015.02.27
Muhammed Lawal vs. Cheick Kongo Bellator 134 2015.02.27
Richard LeRoy vs. Brandon Hastings Lights Out @ Sportsmen's Lodge 2015.02.20
Casey Greene vs. Mario Delgado Lights Out @ Sportsmen's Lodge 2015.02.20
Alfred Khashakyan vs. David Hernandez Lights Out @ Sportsmen's Lodge 2015.02.20
Matt Spencer vs. Justin Vázquez Lights Out @ Sportsmen's Lodge 2015.02.20
Emilio Chavez vs. Art Arciniega Bellator 133 2015.02.13
Daniel Weichel vs. Pat Curran Bellator 133 2015.02.13
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Melvin Manhoef Bellator 133 2015.02.13
Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz UFC 183 2015.01.31
John Lineker vs. Ian McCall UFC 183 2015.01.31
Thales Leites vs. Tim Boetsch UFC 183 2015.01.31
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Marius Zaromskis Bellator 132 2015.01.16
Steve Kozola vs. Jonathan Rivera Bellator 132 2015.01.16
Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus Bellator 132 2015.01.16
Kevin Bostick vs. Daniel McWilliams BAMMA Badbeat 14 2015.01.09
Jessica Pryor vs. Chantalle Castellanos BAMMA Badbeat 14 2015.01.09
Mike Jasper vs. Justin Vázquez BAMMA Badbeat 14 2015.01.09
Isaac Velasco vs. Kristopher Gonzalez BAMMA Badbeat 14 2015.01.09
Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman UFC 182 2015.01.03
Shawn Jordan vs. Jared Cannonier UFC 182 2015.01.03
Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury UFC 182 2015.01.03
Ben Saunders vs. Joe Riggs UFC on FOX 13 2014.12.13
Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan Struve UFC on FOX 13 2014.12.13
Daron Cruickshank vs. KJ Noons The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale 2014.12.12
Aisling Daly vs. Alex Chambers The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale 2014.12.12
Felice Herrig vs. Lisa Ellis The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale 2014.12.12
Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez UFC 181 2014.12.06
Tony Ferguson vs. Abel Trujillo UFC 181 2014.12.06
Corey Anderson vs. Justin Jones UFC 181 2014.12.06
Mehdi Baghdad vs. Zach Juusola RFA 21 2014.12.05
Francisco France vs. Mikey Gomez RFA 21 2014.12.05
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jake Ellenberger UFC 180 2014.11.15
Alejandro Perez vs. Jose Alberto Quiñones III UFC 180 2014.11.15
Enrique Briones vs. Guido Cannetti UFC 180 2014.11.15
Augusto Montaño vs. Chris Heatherly UFC 180 2014.11.15
Christian Bizarretty vs. Adel Al Tamimi Hollywood Fight Night 8 2014.10.30
Bronson Casarez vs. Dmitry Gerasimov Hollywood Fight Night 8 2014.10.30
Daniel Clark vs. Thor Skancke Hollywood Fight Night 8 2014.10.30
Daniel Gallemore vs. Gzim Selmani Bellator 130 2014.10.24
Emanuel Newton vs. Linton Vassell Bellator 130 2014.10.24
Marloes Coenen vs. Annalisa Bucci Bellator 130 2014.10.24
Ricky Musgrave vs. Joe Wilk Bellator 130 2014.10.24
Paul Bradley vs. Josh Neer Bellator 129 2014.10.17
Jozette Cotton vs. Holly Lawson Bellator 129 2014.10.17
André Santos vs. James Terry Bellator 129 2014.10.17
Michael McBride vs. Kevin Morris Bellator 129 2014.10.17
Alexander Sarnavskiy vs. Dakota Cochrane Bellator 128 2014.10.10
Jason Sampson vs. Danny Sykora Bellator 128 2014.10.10
Cortez Coleman vs. William Florentino Bellator 128 2014.10.10
Joe Warren vs. Eduardo Dantas Bellator 128 2014.10.10
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Malik Merad Bellator 127 2014.10.03
Kendall Grove vs. Christian M'Pumbu Bellator 127 2014.10.03
Daniel Straus vs. Justin Wilcox Bellator 127 2014.10.03
Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez UFC 178 2014.09.27
Yoel Romero vs. Tim Kennedy UFC 178 2014.09.27
Brandon Halsey vs. Alexander Shlemenko Bellator 126 2014.09.26
Dan Charles vs. Stuart Austin Bellator 126 2014.09.26
Bubba Jenkins vs. Thiago Meller Bellator 126 2014.09.26
Matt Jelly vs. Drew Lipton Prestige FC 6 2014.09.19
Tim Hague vs. Dwayne Lewis Prestige FC 6 2014.09.19
Dave Nippard vs. Jordan Berland Prestige FC 6 2014.09.19
Yoni Sherbatov vs. Ryland Coventry Prestige FC 6 2014.09.19
Cody Krahn vs. Mike Kent II Prestige FC 6 2014.09.19
Muhammed Lawal vs. Dustin Jacoby Bellator 123 2014.09.05
Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler UFC 177 2014.08.30
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto UFC 177 2014.08.30
Tommy Aaron vs. Cameron Underhill University of MMA 2014.08.24
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Benson Henderson UFC Fight Night 49 2014.08.23
Thales Leites vs. Francis Carmont UFC Fight Night 49 2014.08.23
Ben Saunders vs. Chris Heatherly UFC Fight Night 49 2014.08.23
Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia UFC Fight Night 49 2014.08.23
Amanda Bell vs. Marina Shafir Chaos at the Casino 5 2014.08.10
Dominic Clark vs. Chris Saunders Chaos at the Casino 5 2014.08.10
Luc Bondole vs. Casey Greene NFA Valley Invasion 4 2014.08.08
Richard LeRoy vs. Adrian Bartree NFA Valley Invasion 4 2014.08.08
Eddie Jackson vs. Justin Vázquez NFA Valley Invasion 4 2014.08.08
Nick Barnes vs. Mike Jasper NFA Valley Invasion 4 2014.08.08
Jared Papazian vs. Ara Muradyan NFA Valley Invasion 4 2014.08.08
Sam Liera vs. Eric Steans Jr. KOTC 2014.08.07
Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown UFC on FOX 12 2014.07.26
Brian Ortega vs. Mike De La Torre UFC on FOX 12 2014.07.26
Dennis Bermudez vs. Clay Guida UFC on FOX 12 2014.07.26
Patrick Cummins vs. Kyle Kingsbury UFC on FOX 12 2014.07.26
Karo Parisyan vs. Phil Baroni Bellator 122 2014.07.25
Kelly Anundson vs. Philipe Lins Bellator 122 2014.07.25
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Adam McDonough Bellator 122 2014.07.25
Tae Hyun Bang vs. Kajan Johnson UFC 174 2014.06.14
Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley UFC 174 2014.06.14
Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub UFC 174 2014.06.14
Cheick Kongo vs. Eric Smith Bellator 120 2014.05.17
Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal Bellator 120 2014.05.17
Tito Ortiz vs. Alexander Shlemenko Bellator 120 2014.05.17
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Rafael dos Anjos UFC on FOX 11 2014.04.19
Caio Magalhães vs. Luke Zachrich UFC on FOX 11 2014.04.19
Fabrício Werdum vs. Travis Browne UFC on FOX 11 2014.04.19
Derrick Lewis vs. Jack May UFC on FOX 11 2014.04.19
Blagoi Ivanov vs. Lavar Johnson Bellator 116 2014.04.11
Dave Vitkay vs. Keith Berry Bellator 116 2014.04.11
Rob Emerson vs. Joe Taimanglo Bellator 116 2014.04.11
Alexander Volkov vs. Siala Siliga Bellator 116 2014.04.11
Rodney Wallace vs. Carlos Eduardo Bellator 116 2014.04.11
Linton Vassell vs. Trevor Carlson Bellator 114 2014.03.28
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brennan Ward Bellator 114 2014.03.28
Brett Cooper vs. Kendall Grove Bellator 114 2014.03.28
Ryan Quinn vs. Andrew Calandrelli Bellator 110 2014.02.28
Marvin Maldonado vs. Rico DiSciullo Bellator 110 2014.02.28
Des Green vs. Mike Richman Bellator 110 2014.02.28
Quinton Jackson vs. Christian M'Pumbu Bellator 110 2014.02.28
George Sullivan vs. Mike Rhodes UFC on FOX 10 2014.01.25
Jeremy Stephens vs. Darren Elkins UFC on FOX 10 2014.01.25
Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins UFC on FOX 10 2014.01.25
Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson UFC on FOX 10 2014.01.25
Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez II UFC on FOX 9 2013.12.14
Joe Lauzon vs. Mac Danzig UFC on FOX 9 2013.12.14
Abel Trujillo vs. Roger Bowling II UFC on FOX 9 2013.12.14
Chad Mendes vs. Nik Lentz UFC on FOX 9 2013.12.14
Barb Honchak vs. Leslie Smith Invicta FC 7 2013.12.07
Vanessa Porto vs. Zoila Frausto-Gurgel Invicta FC 7 2013.12.07
Nina Ansaroff vs. Munah Holland Invicta FC 7 2013.12.07
Joanne Calderwood vs. Katja Kankaanpaa Invicta FC 7 2013.12.07
Seth Baczynski vs. Neil Magny UFC Fight Night 31 2013.11.06
Rustam Khabilov vs. Jorge Masvidal UFC Fight Night 31 2013.11.06
Bobby Green vs. James Krause UFC Fight Night 31 2013.11.06

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