In a time where nearly everyone, including Dana White, agrees that mixed martial arts is severely lacking quality referees, the one widely regarded as the best, ‘Big’ John McCarthy, has still not made his return to officiating in the Octagon. This is largely attributed to comments McCarthy made as broadcaster for The Fight Network about the UFC and NSAC head Keith Kizer that apparently weren’t taken too well by both parties.
In an interview with Sherdog.com’s TJ De Santis, McCarthy addressed those issues from his perspective, and gave his best answer to whether he’ll make a return to where he’s sorely needed.
His current status:
I am licensed in California, Ohio, Utah, in certain places in Canada, and that’s where I can go right now. I am not licensed in Nevada. Even though I have thought about doing it, I haven’t applied for it…it’s one of those situations where I’m trying not to cause anyone any problems. I should probably talk with Keith Kizer before I apply, and I haven’t, so that’s on me.
On whether he criticized Keith Kizer:
I never said anything bad about Keith Kizer. I personally don’t have any kind of issue with Keith Kizer at all…I had a criticism toward people being put into place as far as officiating…I have a problem when you have an official who is put into place to have an impact on the sport I love when they don’t understand the sport, when they don’t understand what the fighters are doing. They understand someone getting hit in the face. They don’t understand the manipulations of the ground game and who is winning the fight. I probably should’ve shut my mouth because I’ve got a big mouth, and it’s got me in a lot of trouble, but it’s the truth.
On whether he criticized the UFC:
I never criticized the UFC — that’s a lie. If you’re going to talk about while I was broadcasting, did I say something wasn’t a good fight? Yeah, but I never said the UFC is bad; I don’t do that. I spent too many years building up the UFC, getting people to love the UFC. It would serve me no purpose in saying bad things about something I actually care a lot about. Bring out what I did: Was it a blog I wrote? Is it something you have tape of me saying, like “The UFC is bad”? Everything can’t be complimentary about everything they do. There’s obviously going to be things I don’t agree with, personally, that they do. It doesn’t mean I’m right; it just means it goes against the way I think it should be done.
And finally, does Big John think he’ll return to the Octagon?
I don’t have any control over that. I don’t hire myself. Dana’s got problems with me, and that’s fine. Dana hears things from people, I hear things from people. Most of them are probably bull. I’ve seen things where I say something, then someone repeats it and it’s not even close to what I said. I’m sure if I got on the phone with Dana, we would talk for five minutes, and we could work anything out. I’m a pretty stubborn person, he’s a pretty stubborn person. So is that phone call going to happen? I doubt it.
If I’m wrong about something, I’ve never had a problem admitting I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong many times. But sometimes people get mad and the madness carries on, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.
Just from everything I’ve heard on this situation, it truly sounds like all parties involved are too hard-headed to work on putting their differences aside for the good of the sport, and the well-being of the fighters.
I can’t recall ever hearing anything Big John said that was out of line, and untrue for that matter, that would warrant him being blacklisted by the NSAC and the UFC. Hell, Randy Couture made much more damning comments than Big John ever did, and the UFC took him back. I realize, financially speaking, Randy was always much more valuable to the UFC than McCarthy, but c’mon, it can’t always be about the money.
Perhaps, there’s more to this story than is out in the public, but honestly, if this is all because everyone involved is just a little too stubborn, then someone seriously needs to step up, swallow their pride, and find a way to make amends.
Everyone here wants the same thing.