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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
Neil Magny vs. Carlos Condit UFC 219 2017.12.30
Ricky Glenn vs. Myles Jury UFC 219 2017.12.30
Louis Smolka vs. Matheus Nicolau UFC 219 2017.12.30
Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 219 2017.12.30
Yusuf Raisov vs. Alexander Peduson ACB 77 2017.12.23
Amirkhan Adaev vs. Darren Smith Jr. ACB 77 2017.12.23
Ali Eskiev vs. Rustam Gadzhiev ACB 77 2017.12.23
Eduard Vartanyan vs. Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov II ACB 77 2017.12.23
Beslan Isaev vs. Nah-shon Burrell ACB 77 2017.12.23
Alexey Butorin vs. Gamzat Khiramagomedov ACB 77 2017.12.23
Shannon Ross vs. Steve Nightingale ACB 76 2017.12.09
Melinda Fábián vs. DeAnna Bennett The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Barb Honchak vs. Lauren Murphy The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Nicco Montaño vs. Roxanne Modafferi The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Mindaugas Veržbickas vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov ACB 75 2017.11.25
Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov vs. Joachim Christensen ACB 75 2017.11.25
Adrian Zieliński vs. Ustarmagomed Gadzhidaudov ACB 75 2017.11.25
Oemer Cankardesler vs. Luca Iovine ACB 75 2017.11.25
Connor Hignett vs. Frederico Gutzwiller ACB 75 2017.11.25
Jose Daniel Toledo Canellas vs. Thiago Silva ACB 74 2017.11.18
Abdul-Rakhman Dzhanaev vs. Clifford Starks ACB 74 2017.11.18
Felipe Cruz vs. Lom-Ali Eskijew ACB 74 2017.11.18
Adam Townsend vs. Arbi Aguev ACB 74 2017.11.18
Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Costa UFC 217 2017.11.04
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Rose Namajunas UFC 217 2017.11.04
Michael Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre UFC 217 2017.11.04
Benson Henderson vs. Patricky Pitbull Bellator 183 2017.09.23
Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins UFC 215 2017.09.09
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes II UFC 215 2017.09.09
Bevon Lewis vs. Elias Urbina DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.29
Kelly McGill-Velasco vs. Lauren Mueller DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.29
Vadim Nemkov vs. Philipe Lins Bellator 182 2017.08.25
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Chidi Njokuani Bellator 182 2017.08.25
Benito Lopez vs. Steven Peterson DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.22
Dean Garnett vs. Magomed Magomedov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Albert Duraev vs. Clifford Starks ACB 67 2017.08.19
Brett Cooper vs. Mukhamed Berkhamov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Alex de Paula vs. Gamzat Khiramagomedov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Isac Almeida vs. Abdul-Rakhman Dzhanaev ACB 67 2017.08.19
Abdul-Rakhman Temirov vs. João Luis Nogueira ACB 67 2017.08.19
Amirkhan Adaev vs. Otávio dos Santos ACB 67 2017.08.19
Salimgerey Rasulov vs. Evgeny Erokhin ACB 67 2017.08.19
Rachael Ostovich vs. Barb Honchak The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 2017.08.11
DeAnna Bennett vs. Sijara Eubanks The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 2017.08.10
Sam Alvey vs. Rashad Evans UFC Fight Night 114 2017.08.05
Diego Rivas vs. Jose Alberto Quiñonez UFC Fight Night 114 2017.08.05
Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno UFC Fight Night 114 2017.08.05
Emily Whitmire vs. Christina Marks The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 2017.08.03
Andre Fili vs. Calvin Kattar UFC 214 2017.07.29
Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone UFC 214 2017.07.29
Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones II UFC 214 2017.07.29
Ryan LaFlare vs. Alex Oliveira UFC on FOX 25 2017.07.22
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Chris Weidman UFC on FOX 25 2017.07.22
Patrick Cummins vs. Gian Villante UFC on FOX 25 2017.07.22
Júnior Albini vs. Tim Johnson UFC on FOX 25 2017.07.22
Angel DeAnda vs. Dan Spohn DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.18
Lazar Stojadinovic vs. Thanh Le DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.18
John Salter vs. Kendall Grove Bellator 181 2017.07.14
Mike Rhodes vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. Bellator 181 2017.07.14
Derek Campos vs. Brandon Girtz III Bellator 181 2017.07.14
Valentin Moldavsky vs. Carl Seumanutafa Bellator 181 2017.07.14
Azunna Anyanwu vs. Greg Rebello DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.11
Matt Bessette vs. Kurt Holobaugh DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.11
Charles Byrd vs. Jamie Pickett DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.11
Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker UFC 213 2017.07.08
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Travis Browne UFC 213 2017.07.08
Jordan Johnson vs. Marcel Fortuna The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Jared Cannonier vs. Nick Roehrick The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Michael Johnson vs. Justin Gaethje The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Nikola Dipchikov vs. Maciej Różański ACB 63 2017.07.01
Kamil Gniadek vs. Mindaugas Veržbickas ACB 63 2017.07.01
Luke Barnatt vs. Max Nunes ACB 63 2017.07.01
Patrik Kincl vs. Igor Fernandes ACB 63 2017.07.01
Jakub Wikłacz vs. Sebastian Przybysz ACB 63 2017.07.01
Vinny Magalhães vs. Karol Celiński ACB 63 2017.07.01
Lorenz Larkin vs. Douglas Lima Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Sergio da Silva vs. Matthew Rizzo Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Heather Hardy vs. Alice Yauger Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Sergei Martynov vs. Daniyar Abdibaev ACB 62 2017.06.17
Felipe Cruz vs. Akop Stepanyan ACB 62 2017.06.17
Alexander Peduson vs. Artak Nazaryan ACB 62 2017.06.17
Valeriy Khazhirokov vs. Isaac Pimentel ACB 62 2017.06.17
Evgeniy Belyaev vs. Ayk Gasparyan ACB 62 2017.06.17
Eric Spicely vs. Antônio Carlos Júnior UFC 212 2017.06.03
Paulo Costa vs. Oluwale Bamgbose UFC 212 2017.06.03
Max Holloway vs. José Aldo UFC 212 2017.06.03
Denis Smoldarev vs. Tanner Boser ACB 61 2017.05.20
Taichi Nakajima vs. Arman Ospanov ACB 61 2017.05.20
Rustam Kerimov vs. Tural Ragimov ACB 61 2017.05.20
Luis Palomino vs. Marcos Schmitz ACB 61 2017.05.20
Marat Balaev vs. Adlan Bataev ACB 61 2017.05.20
Beslan Isaev vs. Elvis Mutapčić ACB 61 2017.05.20
Cheick Kongo vs. Augusto Sakai Bellator 179 2017.05.19
Rory MacDonald vs. Paul Daley Bellator 179 2017.05.19
Diego Sanchez vs. Al Iaquinta UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Thales Leites vs. Sam Alvey UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Jessica Penne vs. Danielle Taylor UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Remo Cardarelli vs. Johnny Lopez Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Chris Foster vs. Shane Manley Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Blair Tugman vs. Tom English Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Saad Awad vs. Ryan Quinn Bellator 178 2017.04.21
David Cubas vs. Rustam Asuev ACB 57 2017.04.15
Petr Yan vs. Magomed Magomedov II ACB 57 2017.04.15
Ibragim Chuzhigaev vs. Vyacheslav Vasilevskiy ACB 57 2017.04.15
Ruslan Abiltarov vs. Rasul Albaskhanov ACB 57 2017.04.15
Magomed Ginazov vs. Matheus Mattos ACB 57 2017.04.15
Isa Umarov vs. Maxim Futin ACB 57 2017.04.15
Magomed Bibulatov vs. Jenel Lausa UFC 210 2017.04.08
Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson II UFC 210 2017.04.08
Jan Błachowicz vs. Patrick Cummins UFC 210 2017.04.08
Charles Oliveira vs. Will Brooks UFC 210 2017.04.08
Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Steve Kozola vs. Jake Roberts Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Josh Burkman vs. Michel Prazeres 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
Stephen Thompson vs. Tyron Woodley II UFC 209 2017.03.04
Daniel Kelly vs. Rashad Evans UFC 209 2017.03.04
Roman Pizzolato vs. Justin Wren Bellator 174 2017.03.03
Marloes Coenen vs. Julia Budd Bellator 174 2017.03.03
Jesse Taylor vs. James Krause The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 2017.03.01
Gilbert Smith vs. Dhiego Lima The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 2017.02.21
Patricky Pitbull vs. Josh Thomson Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Veta Arteaga vs. Brooke Mayo Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Gaston Bolaños vs. Abner Perez Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Josh Koscheck vs. Mauricio Alonso Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Tom Gallicchio vs. Eddie Gordon The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 2017.02.03
Jessica Middleton vs. Alice Yauger Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Jordan Young vs. Chris Harris 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
Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Derek Anderson vs. Derek Campos Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Court McGee vs. Ben Saunders UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt UFC 207 2016.12.30
Neil Magny vs. Johny Hendricks UFC 207 2016.12.30
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine UFC 207 2016.12.30
James Moontasri vs. Alex Morono UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Brad Pickett vs. Urijah Faber UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Michelle Waterson vs. Paige VanZant UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tim Kennedy UFC 206 2016.12.10
Matt Brown vs. Donald Cerrone UFC 206 2016.12.10
Misha Cirkunov vs. Nikita Krylov UFC 206 2016.12.10
Frankie Perez vs. Marc Diakiese UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Anthony Hamilton vs. Francis N'Gannou UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Emily Ducote vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 167 2016.12.03

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