Ajax loader

Tapology Site Search

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
Rick Glenn vs. Myles Jury UFC 219 2017.12.30
Edson Barboza vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 219 2017.12.30
Neil Magny vs. Carlos Condit UFC 219 2017.12.30
Matheus Nicolau vs. Louis Smolka UFC 219 2017.12.30
Gamzat Khiramagomedov vs. Alexey Butorin ACB 77 2017.12.23
Eduard Vartanyan vs. Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov II ACB 77 2017.12.23
Alexander Peduson vs. Yusup Raisov ACB 77 2017.12.23
Nah-shon Burrell vs. Beslan Isaev ACB 77 2017.12.23
Rustam Gadzhiev vs. Ali Eskiev ACB 77 2017.12.23
Darren Smith Jr. vs. Amirkhan Adaev ACB 77 2017.12.23
Steve Nightingale vs. Shannon Ross ACB 76 2017.12.09
Barb Honchak vs. Lauren Murphy The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Nicco Montaño The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Melinda Fábián vs. DeAnna Bennett The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale 2017.12.01
Connor Hignett vs. Frederico Gutzwiller ACB 75 2017.11.25
Joachim Christensen vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov ACB 75 2017.11.25
Mindaugas Veržbickas vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov ACB 75 2017.11.25
Luca Iovine vs. Oemer Cankardesler ACB 75 2017.11.25
Adrian Zieliński vs. Ustarmagomed Gadzhidaudov ACB 75 2017.11.25
Arbi Agujev vs. Adam Townsend ACB 74 2017.11.18
Clifford Starks vs. Abdul-Rakhman Dzhanaev ACB 74 2017.11.18
Jose Daniel Toledo Canellas vs. Thiago Silva ACB 74 2017.11.18
Lom-Ali Eskijew vs. Felipe Cruz ACB 74 2017.11.18
Paulo Costa vs. Johny Hendricks UFC 217 2017.11.04
Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk UFC 217 2017.11.04
Georges St. Pierre vs. Michael Bisping UFC 217 2017.11.04
Patricky Freire vs. Benson Henderson Bellator 183 2017.09.23
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes II UFC 215 2017.09.09
Adriano Martins vs. Kajan Johnson UFC 215 2017.09.09
Elias Urbina vs. Bevon Lewis DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.29
Lauren Mueller vs. Kelly McGill-Velasco DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.29
Chidi Njokuani vs. Andrey Koreshkov Bellator 182 2017.08.25
Philipe Lins vs. Vadim Nemkov Bellator 182 2017.08.25
Steven Peterson vs. Benito Lopez DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.08.22
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
Otávio dos Santos vs. Amirkhan Adaev ACB 67 2017.08.19
Evgeny Erokhin vs. Salimgerey Rasulov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Albert Duraev vs. Clifford Starks ACB 67 2017.08.19
Dean Garnett vs. Magomed Magomedov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Brett Cooper vs. Mukhamed Berkhamov ACB 67 2017.08.19
Barb Honchak vs. Rachael Ostovich 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
Jose Alberto Quiñones vs. Diego Rivas UFC Fight Night 114 2017.08.05
Brandon Moreno vs. Sergio Pettis UFC Fight Night 114 2017.08.05
Christina Marks vs. Emily Whitmire The Ultimate Fighter Season 26 2017.08.03
Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier II UFC 214 2017.07.29
Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler UFC 214 2017.07.29
Calvin Kattar vs. Andre Fili UFC 214 2017.07.29
Júnior Albini vs. Timothy Johnson 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
Alex Oliveira vs. Ryan LaFlare UFC on FOX 25 2017.07.22
Dan Spohn vs. Angel DeAnda DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.18
Lazar Stojadinovic vs. Thanh Le DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.18
Mike Rhodes vs. Rafael Lovato Jr. Bellator 181 2017.07.14
Derek Campos vs. Brandon Girtz III Bellator 181 2017.07.14
John Salter vs. Kendall Grove 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
Jamie Pickett vs. Charles Byrd DW's Contender Series 2017 2017.07.11
Travis Browne vs. Alexey Oleinik UFC 213 2017.07.08
Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero UFC 213 2017.07.08
Marcel Fortuna vs. Jordan Johnson The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Nick Roehrick vs. Jared Cannonier The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Michael Johnson vs. Justin Gaethje The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale 2017.07.07
Igor Fernandes vs. Patrik Kincl ACB 63 2017.07.01
Vinny Magalhães vs. Karol Celiński ACB 63 2017.07.01
Max Nunes vs. Luke Barnatt ACB 63 2017.07.01
Jakub Wikłacz vs. Sebastian Przybysz ACB 63 2017.07.01
Nikola Dipchikov vs. Maciej Różański ACB 63 2017.07.01
Kamil Gniadek vs. Mindaugas Veržbickas ACB 63 2017.07.01
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Lorenz Larkin vs. Douglas Lima Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Sergio da Silva vs. Matthew Rizzo Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Heather Hardy vs. Alice Yauger Bellator NYC 2017.06.24
Felipe Cruz vs. Akop Stepanyan ACB 62 2017.06.17
Isaac Pimentel vs. Valeriy Khazhirokov ACB 62 2017.06.17
Daniyar Abdibaev vs. Sergei Martynov ACB 62 2017.06.17
Evgeniy Belyaev vs. Ayk Gasparyan ACB 62 2017.06.17
Artak Nazaryan vs. Alexander Peduson ACB 62 2017.06.17
Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Paulo Costa UFC 212 2017.06.03
José Aldo vs. Max Holloway UFC 212 2017.06.03
Antônio Carlos Júnior vs. Eric Spicely UFC 212 2017.06.03
Taichi Nakajima vs. Arman Ospanov ACB 61 2017.05.20
Rustam Kerimov vs. Tural Ragimov ACB 61 2017.05.20
Adlan Bataev vs. Marat Balaev ACB 61 2017.05.20
Beslan Isaev vs. Elvis Mutapcic ACB 61 2017.05.20
Tanner Boser vs. Denis Smoldarev ACB 61 2017.05.20
Marcos Schmitz vs. Luis Palomino ACB 61 2017.05.20
Rory MacDonald vs. Paul Daley Bellator 179 2017.05.19
Augusto Sakai vs. Cheick Kongo Bellator 179 2017.05.19
Sam Alvey vs. Thales Leites UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Diego Sanchez vs. Al Iaquinta UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Danielle Taylor vs. Jessica Penne UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Remo Cardarelli vs. John Lopez Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Blair Tugman vs. Tom English Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Shane Manley vs. Chris Foster Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Ryan Quinn vs. Saad Awad Bellator 178 2017.04.21
David Cubas vs. Rustam Asuev ACB 57 2017.04.15
Isa Umarov vs. Maxim Futin ACB 57 2017.04.15
Vyacheslav Vasilevskiy vs. Ibragim Chuzhigaev ACB 57 2017.04.15
Magomed Magomedov vs. Petr Yan II ACB 57 2017.04.15
Magomed Ginazov vs. Matheus Mattos ACB 57 2017.04.15
Ruslan Abiltarov vs. Rasul Albaskhanov ACB 57 2017.04.15
Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier 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
Magomed Bibulatov vs. Jenel Lausa UFC 210 2017.04.08
Steve Kozola vs. Jake Roberts Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Quinton Jackson vs. Muhammed Lawal Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means II UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Michel Prazeres vs. Josh Burkman 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
Justin Wren vs. Roman Pizzolato 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
Dhiego Lima vs. Gilbert Smith The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 2017.02.21
Brooke Mayo vs. Veta Arteaga Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Gaston Bolanos vs. Abner Perez Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Mauricio Alonso vs. Josh Koscheck Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Tom Gallicchio vs. Eddie Gordon The Ultimate Fighter Season 25 2017.02.03
Melvin Guillard vs. Chidi Njokuani Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Chris Harris vs. Jordan Young Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Alice Yauger vs. Jessica Middleton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Derek Anderson vs. Derek Campos Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz 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
Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny UFC 207 2016.12.30
Cody Garbrandt vs. Dominick Cruz UFC 207 2016.12.30
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Dong Hyun Kim UFC 207 2016.12.30
Michelle Waterson vs. Paige VanZant UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
James Moontasri vs. Alex Morono UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tim Kennedy UFC 206 2016.12.10
Misha Cirkunov vs. Nikita Krylov UFC 206 2016.12.10
Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown 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
Francis N'Gannou vs. Anthony Hamilton UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Emily Ducote vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 167 2016.12.03

  • MMAFighting.com : UFC returns to Fortaleza, Brazil in February
  • MMAFighting.com : Video: Daniel Cormier UFC 230 media day scrum
  • MMAFighting.com : Nate Diaz, Dustin Poirier trade barbs in Twitter beef
  • MMAFighting.com : Luke Rockhold out of UFC 230 bout with Chris Weidman; ‘Jacare’ Souza offered fight
  • MMAFighting.com : Louis Smolka would ‘love’ to be part of Bellator’s Hawaii show
  • MMAFighting.com : Daniel Cormier says he postponed WWE commentary tryout when UFC 230 fight was booked
  • MMAFighting.com : Unbeaten Ross Houston sees Cage Warriors title as ‘golden ticket’ to the UFC
  • MMAFighting.com : John Gotti III books next fight for CES 53
  • MMAFighting.com : PFL 10 weigh-in video
  • MMAFighting.com : Dana White shoots down Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Floyd Mayweather talk: ‘Don’t pay attention to it’
  • MMAFighting.com : UFC 231 poster released
  • MMAFighting.com : With rift at Jackson-Wink, Mike Perry believes he gave Donald Cerrone ‘a little spirit back in his step’
  • MMAFighting.com : Elizeu Zaleski vs. Jingliang Li slated for UFC Beijing
  • MMAFighting.com : The Great Divide: If Daniel Cormier wins at UFC 230, which fight is bigger for him — Lesnar or Jones?
  • MMAFighting.com : The Great Divide: If Daniel Cormier wins at UFC 230, which fight is bigger for him — Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones?
  • MMAFighting.com : Morning Report: TJ Dillashaw on Cody Garbrandt TKO: ‘I said I’d ruin his career, I’m doing it’
  • UFC.com : Soukhamthath back to "hungry Andre" from pre-UFC days
  • UFC.com : Champion Check-In: Rose Namajunas
  • MMAFighting.com : Dustin Poirier avoids surgery on hip, expects three-week recovery
  • MMAFighting.com : Derrick Lewis UFC 230 media day scrum