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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
Michel Prazeres vs. Josh Burkman UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means II UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Vitor Belfort UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Daniel Kelly vs. Rashad Evans UFC 209 2017.03.04
Stephen Thompson vs. Tyron Woodley II UFC 209 2017.03.04
Julia Budd vs. Marloes Coenen Bellator 174 2017.03.03
Justin Wren vs. Roman Pizzolato Bellator 174 2017.03.03
Veta Arteaga vs. Brooke Mayo Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Mauricio Alonso vs. Josh Koscheck Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Patricky Freire vs. Josh Thomson Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Abner Perez vs. Gaston Bolanos Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Melvin Guillard vs. Chidi Njokuani Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Alice Yauger vs. Jessica Middleton 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 Anderson vs. Derek Campos Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Ben Saunders vs. Court McGee UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Yair Rodriguez vs. BJ Penn UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Neil Magny vs. Johny Hendricks UFC 207 2016.12.30
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Dong Hyun Kim UFC 207 2016.12.30
Cody Garbrandt vs. Dominick Cruz UFC 207 2016.12.30
Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Alex Morono vs. James Moontasri 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
Misha Cirkunov vs. Nikita Krylov 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
Justin Lawrence vs. John Teixeira Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Emily Ducote vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Chris Honeycutt vs. Ben Reiter Bellator 166 2016.12.02
Joe Warren vs. Eduardo Dantas II Bellator 166 2016.12.02
Benson Henderson vs. Michael Chandler 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
Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez UFC 205 2016.11.12
Michael Johnson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 205 2016.11.12
Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad UFC 205 2016.11.12
Scott Cleve vs. Noad Lahat Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Elazar Tariku vs. Ron Becker Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Alex Trofimov vs. Sol Renato Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Haim Gozali vs. Zane Clerk Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Alex Nikulin vs. Avi Baron Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Liam McGeary vs. Phil Davis Bellator 163 2016.11.04
Cody Miskell vs. Tyrell Fortune Bellator 163 2016.11.04
Rudy Bears vs. Neiman Gracie 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
Tamdan McCrory vs. Nate Marquardt 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
Tony Johnson Jr. vs. Cheick Kongo 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
Shane Campbell vs. Felipe Silva UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Carlos Condit vs. Demian Maia 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
Chinzo Machida vs. Mario Navarro 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
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II UFC 202 2016.08.20
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Cody Garbrandt 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
Marcin Tybura vs. Viktor Pešta UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Rony Jason vs. Dennis Bermudez UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran 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
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Philipe Lins vs. Guilherme Viana Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Jessica Middleton vs. Bruna Ellen Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Bruna Vargas vs. Emily Ducote Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Joe Taimanglo vs. Darrion Caldwell Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Mike Cutting vs. James Gallagher Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Jack Mason vs. Jason Radcliffe Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Michael Page vs. Evangelista Santos 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
Josh Samman vs. Tim Boetsch 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
Tatiana Suarez vs. Amanda Cooper The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Cláudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk II The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Mitch Clarke vs. Joe Duffy UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Derrick Lewis vs. Roy Nelson UFC Fight Night 90 2016.07.07
Chris Heatherly vs. Joaquin Buckley Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Dewayne Diggs vs. Jason Christeson Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Carl Seumanutafa vs. Matt Mitrione Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Michael Chandler vs. Patricky Freire II Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Isao Kobayashi vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Jason Saggo vs. Leandro Silva UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Carrington Banks vs. CJ Keith Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Eduardo Dantas vs. Marcos Galvão II 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
Mychal Clark vs. Jared Vanderaa 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
Cole Miller vs. Alex Caceres UFC 199 2016.06.04
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping II UFC 199 2016.06.04
Rick Story vs. Tarec Saffiedine UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Cody Garbrandt vs. Thomas Almeida UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Sara McMann vs. Jessica Eye UFC Fight Night 88 2016.05.29
Sean Powers vs. Will Noland Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Augusto Sakai vs. Dan Charles Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Casey Johnson vs. Brendan Raftery Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef Bellator 155 2016.05.20
Don Mohammed vs. Martin Sano Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Jeremiah Labiano vs. Josh San Diego Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Muhammed Lawal vs. Phil Davis Bellator 154 2016.05.14
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo UFC 197 2016.04.23
Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza UFC 197 2016.04.23
Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker UFC 197 2016.04.23
Matt Bessette vs. Keith Richardson Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Joe Cronin vs. Mike Zichelle Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Jeremie Holloway vs. Michael Page Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Blair Tugman vs. Jay Perrin Bellator 153 2016.04.22
Daniele Scatizzi vs. Daniele Miceli Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Edimilson Souza vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Danilo Belluardo vs. AJ McKee Jr. Bellator 152 2016.04.16
Matt Church vs. Steve Kozola WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Danny Davis Jr. vs. Abu Azaitar WSOF 30 2016.04.02
Clifford Starks vs. Dave Branch 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
Holly Holm vs. Miesha Tate UFC 196 2016.03.05
Corey Anderson vs. Tom Lawlor UFC 196 2016.03.05
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Brandon Thatch 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
Amanda Cooper vs. Lanchana Green The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 2016.03.01
Cheick Kongo vs. Vinicius Queiroz Bellator 150 2016.02.26
Bobby Cooper vs. David Rickels Bellator 150 2016.02.26

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