Big John McCarthy says MMA officiating career “won’t go on much longer”

By Tom Taylor - November 28, 2016

Veteran referee “Big” John McCarthy made his first Octagon appearance all the way back at UFC 2 in the year 1994. As such, he and his trademark “let’s get it on” fight-staring line are as much a symbol of the UFC as Bruce Buffer, Joe Rogan, and the Octagon itself.

John McCarthy responds to Daniel Cormier

Of course, Big John’s officiating duties extend far beyond the confines of the UFC’s Octagon. Over the course of his lengthy career as a mixed martial arts referee, he’s officiated bouts in other high profile promotions like Bellator, and is even qualified to handle boxing bouts.

Apparently, however, the veteran officiator’s days as the third man in the cage are winding down. In the most recent iteration of his popular #AskBJM question and answer series on Twitter, McCarthy was asked how much longer he planned to continue his refereeing duties. While he wasn’t able to produce a concrete expiration date for his officiating career, he did assure that it “won’t go on for much longer.”

Outside of his officiating duties, McCarthy has partaken in everything from ring-side fight commentary to tactical self-defense training for police officers. He has also played a huge role in the development of mixed martial arts officiating with the creation of C.O.M.M.A.N.D., a training and certification school for mixed martial arts referees and judges. Needless to say, he’s likely to stay very busy, even when his days as MMA’s best known referee are over.

McCarthy was most recently in the news after he was kicked by UFC heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Nelson allegedly kicked McCarthy because he felt the referee allowed his fight with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to go on for too long. Though he later offered McCarthy an apologyNelson was handed a large fine and a nine month suspension for this overt violation.

Will you miss Big John McCarthy when he’s no longer reffing MMA bouts? Sound off, PENN Nation!


John McCarthy