Famed referee “Big” John McCarthy has been licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and will officiate at UFC 178. McCarthy, who became the third man in the Octagon at UFC 2, was long synonymous with all things UFC-related, but he had a falling out with the powers that be, and for years was unable to get licensed to referee in the UFC’s home base of Nevada.
As per Kevin Iole at Yahoo!:
McCarthy, who along with Herb Dean is considered one of mixed martial arts’ two finest referees, announced a brief retirement after working a show at the Palms in Las Vegas on Dec. 8, 2007, to take a broadcast position with The Fight Network.
He returned to officiating in November 2008, though he did color analysis for several MMA cards. But he ran afoul of Keith Kizer, the former executive director of Nevada commission, after making comments Kizer felt were unfair and overly critical.
Nevada, though, has been seeking to improve the quality of its refereeing and judging in both MMA and boxing since several controversies late last year. Those controversies got the attention of powerful politicians such as Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev).
The sport always needs quality officiating, so it’s good to see McCarthy back in the Nevada rotation.