Mixed Martial Arts most famous referee, ‘Big’ John McCarthy is expected to be the official in the Octagon during next Saturday night’s ‘UFC On FOX 1’ main event between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos.

The California State Athletic Commission have informed the UFC that there’s “a 99% chance” that he will oversee the contest.

It’s somewhat ironic that McCarthy has been chosen to officiate what is seen as one of the most significant night’s in the promotion’s history in their FOX debut given that for a number of years he has been given the cold shoulder by the UFC.

McCarthy has become synonymous with both the sport and the UFC in particular thanks to him being involved right from the very first UFC event and having also had a significant role in establishing and enforcing the rules in those formative years.

His relationship with the UFC soured though when he retired from his refereeing role to take on a role as an analyst for rival organization Affliction in 2007.

After that promotion folded McCarthy returned to his former officiating role and has regularly been seen in other organizations such as Strikeforce, but has been a notable absentee from the vast majority of the UFC’s events since.

It is down to the individual commissions to establish who is chosen however, and California have always been strongly behind McCarthy as has again been proven with this decision.

Leaving the politics out of it, it’s nice to see that McCarthy will be the man in charge as he’s vastly experienced and has the right temperament to remain cool in what’s likely to be a pressure cooker environment in Anaheim next weekend given the significance of the event.

One of a number of fears about the fight, which is expected to reach several million viewers on FOX including many of whom may never have seen an MMA bout before, is that a bad refereeing decision – including an early or late stoppage – could spoil the fight.

While there’s always the risk of human error McCarthy can be considered a safe pair of hands in this instance.

For the record, UFC president Dana White had wanted Herb Dean to be the man in charge, and he too would have been a good choice.


  1. That’s nice Dana White, but Herb Dean couldn’t hold Big John’s coat tails. Silly petty grievances aside White knows John is still the best man for the job, he literally wrote the rulebook for Pete’s sake.