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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
Artak Nazaryan vs. Alexander Peduson ACB 62 2017.06.17
Valeriy Khazhirokov vs. Isaac Pimentel ACB 62 2017.06.17
Akop Stepanyan vs. Felipe Cruz ACB 62 2017.06.17
Daniyar Abdibaev vs. Sergei Martynov ACB 62 2017.06.17
Aik Gasparyan vs. Evgeniy Belyaev ACB 62 2017.06.17
Max Holloway vs. José Aldo UFC 212 2017.06.03
Antônio Carlos Júnior vs. Eric Spicely UFC 212 2017.06.03
Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale Bamgbose UFC 212 2017.06.03
Beslan Isaev vs. Elvis Mutapcic ACB 61 2017.05.20
Rustam Kerimov vs. Tural Ragimov ACB 61 2017.05.20
Tanner Boser vs. Denis Smoldarev ACB 61 2017.05.20
Marat Balaev vs. Adlan Bataev ACB 61 2017.05.20
Luis Palomino vs. Marcos Schmitz ACB 61 2017.05.20
Taichi Nakajima vs. Arman Ospanov 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
Diego Sanchez vs. Al Iaquinta UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Sam Alvey vs. Thales Leites UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Danielle Taylor vs. Jessica Penne UFC Fight Night 108 2017.04.22
Tom English vs. Blair Tugman Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Remo Cardarelli vs. John Lopez Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Chris Foster vs. Shane Manley Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Saad Awad vs. Ryan Quinn Bellator 178 2017.04.21
Petr Yan vs. Magomed Magomedov II ACB 57 2017.04.15
Ibragim Chuzhigaev vs. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky ACB 57 2017.04.15
Matheus Mattos vs. Magomed Ginazov ACB 57 2017.04.15
Rustam Asuev vs. David Cubas ACB 57 2017.04.15
Isa Umarov vs. Maxim Futin ACB 57 2017.04.15
Rasul Albaskhanov vs. Ruslan Abiltarov ACB 57 2017.04.15
Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier II UFC 210 2017.04.08
Patrick Cummins vs. Jan Błachowicz UFC 210 2017.04.08
Charles Oliveira vs. Will Brooks UFC 210 2017.04.08
Jenel Lausa vs. Magomed Bibulatov UFC 210 2017.04.08
Jake Roberts vs. Steve Kozola Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Muhammed Lawal vs. Quinton Jackson Bellator 175 2017.03.31
Josh Burkman vs. Michel Prazeres UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Vitor Belfort vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means II UFC Fight Night 106 2017.03.11
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson II UFC 209 2017.03.04
Daniel Kelly vs. Rashad Evans 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
Josh Thomson vs. Patricky Freire Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Mauricio Alonso vs. Josh Koscheck Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Brooke Mayo vs. Veta Arteaga Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Gaston Bolanos vs. Abner Perez Bellator 172 2017.02.18
Jordan Young vs. Chris Harris Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Chidi Njokuani vs. Melvin Guillard Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Alice Yauger vs. Jessica Middleton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Gaston Reyno vs. Justin Overton Bellator 171 2017.01.27
Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Derek Campos vs. Derek Anderson Bellator 170 2017.01.21
Ben Saunders vs. Court McGee UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez UFC Fight Night 103 2017.01.15
Drakkar Klose vs. Devin Powell 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
Alex Morono vs. James Moontasri UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Brad Pickett vs. Urijah Faber UFC on FOX 22 2016.12.17
Misha Cirkunov vs. Nikita Krylov UFC 206 2016.12.10
Matt Brown vs. Donald Cerrone UFC 206 2016.12.10
Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum UFC 206 2016.12.10
Anthony Hamilton vs. Francis Zavier N'Gannou UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Frankie Perez vs. Marc Diakiese UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Brian Camozzi vs. Randy Brown UFC Fight Night 102 2016.12.09
Emily Ducote vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Justin Lawrence vs. John Teixeira Bellator 167 2016.12.03
Joe Warren vs. Eduardo Dantas II Bellator 166 2016.12.02
Chris Honeycutt vs. Ben Reiter 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
Elazar Tariku vs. Ron Becker Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Alex Trofimov vs. Sol Renato Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Avi Baron vs. Alex Nikulin Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Haim Gozali vs. Zane Clerk Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Scott Cleve vs. Noad Lahat Bellator 164 2016.11.10
Phil Davis vs. Liam McGeary 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
Goiti Yamauchi vs. Ryan Couture Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Bobby Brents vs. Chase Gormley Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Kendall Grove vs. Alexander Shlemenko Bellator 162 2016.10.21
Zak Ottow vs. Josh Burkman UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Joachim Christensen vs. Luis Henrique da Silva UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Nate Marquardt vs. Tamdan McCrory UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
John Dodson vs. John Lineker UFC Fight Night 96 2016.10.01
Roy Nelson vs. Antônio Silva UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Eric Spicely vs. Thiago Santos UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Renan Barão vs. Phillipe Nover UFC Fight Night 95 2016.09.24
Garrett Scott vs. Waylon Bronstrup Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Cheick Kongo vs. Tony Johnson Jr. Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Sirwan Kakai vs. Joe Warren Bellator 161 2016.09.16
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller II UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Shane Campbell vs. Felipe Silva UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit UFC on FOX 21 2016.08.27
Benson Henderson vs. Patricio Freire Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Joey Davis vs. Keith Cutrone Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Mario Navarro vs. Chinzo Machida Bellator 160 2016.08.26
Javier Garcia vs. Craig Plaskett Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Ozzie Alvarez vs. Curtis Millender Fight Club OC 2016.08.25
Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki UFC 202 2016.08.20
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II UFC 202 2016.08.20
Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Mike Perry UFC 202 2016.08.20
Viktor Pešta vs. Marcin Tybura UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Rony Jason vs. Dennis Bermudez UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Cub Swanson UFC Fight Night 92 2016.08.06
Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Jason Knight vs. Jim Alers UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Gilbert Melendez vs. Edson Barboza UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev UFC on FOX 20 2016.07.23
Guilherme Viana vs. Philipe Lins 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
Darrion Caldwell vs. Joe Taimanglo Bellator 159 2016.07.22
Jack Mason vs. Jason Radcliffe Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Mike Cutting vs. James Gallagher Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Evangelista Santos vs. Michael Page Bellator 158 2016.07.16
Tim Boetsch vs. Josh Samman UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Eric Spicely vs. Sam Alvey UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Lando Vannata vs. Tony Ferguson UFC Fight Night 91 2016.07.13
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne UFC 200 2016.07.09
Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier UFC 200 2016.07.09
Cláudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk II The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale 2016.07.08
Tatiana Suarez vs. Amanda Cooper 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
Dewayne Diggs vs. Jason Christeson Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Carl Seumanutafa vs. Matt Mitrione Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Chris Heatherly vs. Joaquin Buckley Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Isao Kobayashi vs. Justin Lawrence Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Patricky Freire vs. Michael Chandler II Bellator 157 2016.06.24
Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Leandro Silva vs. Jason Saggo UFC Fight Night 89 2016.06.18
Marcos Galvão vs. Eduardo Dantas II Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Mikkel Parlo vs. Chris Honeycutt Bellator 156 2016.06.17
CJ Keith vs. Carrington Banks Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Roy Boughton vs. Javy Ayala Bellator 156 2016.06.17
Chris Culley vs. Chris Saunders BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Jared Vanderaa vs. Mychal Clark BAMMA Badbeat 20 2016.06.10
Gabriel Green vs. Hakob Ter-Petrosyan Fight Club OC 2016.06.09
Jake Albinio vs. Jacob Rosales Fight Club OC 2016.06.09
Max Holloway vs. Ricardo Lamas UFC 199 2016.06.04
Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold II UFC 199 2016.06.04
Alex Caceres vs. Cole Miller UFC 199 2016.06.04

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