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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
Sean Powers vs. Will Noland 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
Brendan Raftery vs. Casey Johnson Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Josh San Diego vs. Jeremiah Labiano Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Phil Davis vs. Muhammed Lawal Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Don Mohammed vs. Martin Sano Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Robert Whittaker vs. Rafael Natal UFC 197 2016.04.23
Carla Esparza vs. Juliana Lima UFC 197 2016.04.23
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo UFC 197 2016.04.23
Mike Zichelle vs. Joe Cronin Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Blair Tugman vs. Jay Perrin Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Michael Page vs. Jeremie Holloway Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Matt Bessette vs. Keith Richardson Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Daniele Miceli vs. Daniele Scatizzi Bellator 152 2016.04.16
AJ McKee Jr. vs. Danilo Belluardo Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Patricky Freire vs. Edimilson Souza Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Steve Kozola vs. Matt Church WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Dave Branch vs. Clifford Starks WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Abu Azaitar vs. Danny Davis Jr. 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
Brandon Thatch vs. Siyar Bahadurzada UFC 196 2016.03.05
Tom Lawlor vs. Corey Anderson 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
Manny Meraz vs. Andre Fialho Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Lena Ovchynnikova vs. Rebecca Ruth 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
Marlon Moraes vs. Joe Barajas WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Andrew Ramm vs. Ozzie Alvarez WSOF 28 2016.02.20
Albert Morales vs. Anthony Paredes BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Steve Ramirez vs. Kyle Estrada BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Garrick Evans vs. Isaias Alvarado BAMMA Badbeat 18 2016.02.20
Justin Wren vs. Juan Torres Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Davis Sylvester vs. Jeremy Mahon Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Chris Soliz vs. Alex Macedo Bellator 149 2016.02.19
Josh Burkman vs. KJ Noons UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
Joseph Benavidez vs. Zach Makovsky UFC Fight Night 82 2016.02.06
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Amber Tackett Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Patricky Freire vs. Ryan Couture Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Paul Daley vs. Andy Uhrich Bellator 148 2016.01.29
Megan Anderson vs. Amber Leibrock Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Cristiane Justino vs. Daria Ibragimova Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Raquel Pa'aluhi vs. Colleen Schneider Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Angela Hill vs. Alida Gray Invicta FC 15 2016.01.16
Brian Ortega vs. Diego Brandão UFC 195 2016.01.02
Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit UFC 195 2016.01.02
Kyle Noke vs. Alex Morono UFC 195 2016.01.02
Gabrielle Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Muhammed Lawal vs. Jiří Procházka RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Muhammed Lawal vs. Teodoras Aukštuolis RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jaideep Singh RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Jiří Procházka vs. Vadim Nemkov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.31
Carlos Toyota vs. Kirill Sidelnikov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Valentin Moldavsky vs. Yuta Uchida RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
AJ Matthews vs. Anatoly Tokov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Muhammed Lawal vs. Brett McDermott RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Goran Reljić vs. Vadim Nemkov RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015 2015.12.29
Johnny Nuñez vs. David Jordan WSOF 26 2015.12.18
Lance Palmer vs. Alexandre de Almeida WSOF 26 2015.12.18
Josh Hill vs. Bekbulat Magomedov WSOF 26 2015.12.18
Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson UFC 194 2015.12.12
José Aldo vs. Conor McGregor UFC 194 2015.12.12
Leonardo Santos vs. Kevin Lee UFC 194 2015.12.12
Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale 2015.12.11
Alibek Rasulov vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov MFP 2015.12.05
Gamzat Hiramagomedov vs. Ramazan Gamzatov MFP 2015.12.05
Bakhachali Bakhachaliev vs. Armen Gulyan MFP 2015.12.05
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Nadyr Bulkadarov MFP 2015.12.05
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Neil Magny UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Efrain Escudero vs. Leandro Silva UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Gabriel Benitez vs. Andre Fili UFC Fight Night 78 2015.11.21
Hisaki Kato vs. Melvin Manhoef Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Houston Alexander vs. Guilherme Viana Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Ben Reiter vs. Francisco France Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Ricky Rainey vs. Chidi Njokuani Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Zach Rosol vs. Alonzo Menifield Bellator 146 2015.11.20
Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Straus III Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Will Brooks vs. Marcin Held Bellator 145 2015.11.06
Brennan Ward vs. Dennis Olson Bellator 144 2015.10.23
Matt Secor vs. Jeremie Holloway Bellator 144 2015.10.23
Sam Watford vs. TJ Hepburn Bellator 144 2015.10.23
Jacob Rosales vs. Joey Ruquet Fight Club OC 2015.10.15
Matthew Lopez vs. Justin Linn RFA 31 2015.10.09
Gilbert Smith vs. Bristol Marunde RFA 31 2015.10.09
Vinicius Queiroz vs. Ewerton Teixeira Bellator 143 2015.09.25
Saul Elizondo vs. Amador Ramirez Bellator 143 2015.09.25
Gleristone Santos vs. John Teixeira Bellator 143 2015.09.25
Joe Warren vs. L.C. Davis Bellator 143 2015.09.25
Matthew Ramirez vs. Josh Paiva Bellator 142 2015.09.19
Brandon Hester vs. DeMarco Villalona Bellator 142 2015.09.19
Mike Malott vs. Thomas Diagne Bellator 142 2015.09.19
Liam McGeary vs. Tito Ortiz Bellator 142 2015.09.19
James Terry vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha Bellator 142 2015.09.19
Tonya Evinger vs. Pannie Kianzad Invicta FC 14 2015.09.12
Cindy Dandois vs. Megan Anderson Invicta FC 14 2015.09.12
Rachael Ostovich vs. Andrea Lee Invicta FC 14 2015.09.12
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Mariana Morais Invicta FC 14 2015.09.12
Aspen Ladd vs. Amanda Bobby Cooper Invicta FC 14 2015.09.12
Clay Collard vs. Tiago Trator UFC 191 2015.09.05
Paige VanZant vs. Alex Chambers UFC 191 2015.09.05
Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir UFC 191 2015.09.05
Alex Reyes vs. Thomas Noel KOTC 2015.08.29
Melvin Guillard vs. Brandon Girtz Bellator 141 2015.08.28
Jacob Rosales vs. Israel Cruz Fight Club OC 2015.08.27
Hector Carrillo vs. Jamelle Jones Fight Club OC 2015.08.27
Casey Ryan vs. Lucas Rota TFE 2015.08.22
Devin Goodale vs. Tamahau Mc Comb TFE 2015.08.22
Sean Crenshaw vs. Donte Stubbs TFE 2015.08.22
Glover Teixeira vs. Ovince St. Preux UFC Fight Night 73 2015.08.08
Chris Dempsey vs. Jonathan Wilson UFC Fight Night 73 2015.08.08
Tom Watson vs. Chris Camozzi UFC Fight Night 73 2015.08.08
Sara McMann vs. Amanda Nunes UFC Fight Night 73 2015.08.08
Ronda Rousey vs. Bethe Correia UFC 190 2015.08.01
Antônio Silva vs. Soa Palelei UFC 190 2015.08.01
Warlley Alves vs. Nordine Taleb UFC 190 2015.08.01
Blair Tugman vs. Kin Moy Bellator 140 2015.07.17
Brennan Ward vs. Roger Carroll Bellator 140 2015.07.17
Waylon Lowe vs. Ryan Quinn Bellator 140 2015.07.17
Chris Honeycutt vs. Paul Bradley Bellator 140 2015.07.17
Jéssica Andrade vs. Sarah Moras UFC Fight Night 71 2015.07.15
Frank Mir vs. Todd Duffee UFC Fight Night 71 2015.07.15
Kevin Lee vs. James Moontasri UFC Fight Night 71 2015.07.15
Sean Strickland vs. Igor Araújo UFC Fight Night 71 2015.07.15
Jorge Masvidal vs. Cezar Ferreira The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale 2015.07.12
Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhães The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale 2015.07.12
Jake Ellenberger vs. Stephen Thompson The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale 2015.07.12
Cathal Pendred vs. John Howard UFC 189 2015.07.11
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II UFC 189 2015.07.11
Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett UFC 189 2015.07.11
Lyoto Machida vs. Yoel Romero UFC Fight Night 70 2015.06.27
Sirwan Kakai vs. Danny Martinez UFC Fight Night 70 2015.06.27
Hacran Dias vs. Levan Makashvili UFC Fight Night 70 2015.06.27
Pat Curran vs. Emmanuel Sanchez Bellator 139 2015.06.26
Alex Huddleston vs. Javy Ayala Bellator 139 2015.06.26
Daniel Gallemore vs. Augusto Sakai Bellator 139 2015.06.26
Cheick Kongo vs. Alexander Volkov Bellator 139 2015.06.26
Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock Bellator 138 2015.06.19
Patricio Freire vs. Daniel Weichel Bellator 138 2015.06.19
Bobby Lashley vs. Dan Charles Bellator 138 2015.06.19

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