Big John McCarthy, the UFC’s most popular referee left the UFC to focus on a broadcasting career with The Fight Network. Looks like he’s gonna fit in just fine in his new job as a member of the media.
McCarthy On Rorion And Fighter Safety In The Early Days.
The first event I did was UFC II and there were problems. For one thing, the ref couldn’t stop the fight. Rorion Gracie was the guy really in charge with everything and Rorion could give a damn about anybody except for his brother [Royce Gracie]. He cared about Royce and he knew that Royce knew what he was doing and would be okay. But the other guys were going out and [getting hurt.] Either the fighter could ask to stop or his corner could throw in the towel and say the fighter had enough. That was all nice. But what happened was that fighters were too proud to stop and they would tell their corners, “Don’t you ever stop this fight. If you do, I’m going to beat your ass.” And their corners believed in the fighters so they never threw in the towel.
I told the corners, ‘If your fighter gets in trouble, I’m gonna tell you to watch your fighter. If your fighter is done, I’m gonna yell at you.’ [The first time I did that] the corner shakes their heads no and throws the towel into the audience. I was like, ‘We got problems. I can’t do this any more.’ Luckily, after that the rules changed so the ref had power to stop fights. Rules changes all the time back them. If you ask Dana White, he’ll say there were no rules back then and that’s not true. Dana doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
McCarthy On Dana White:
I characterize Dana as a committed businessman. He is a guy who works to death to promote the UFC and has done a good job of that. Has he made mistakes? Absolutely. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. Is everything he puts out to the media how the sport got started the truth? No. But he’s dedicated and devoted. Because of Dana the sport has come to a higher level, no doubt about it. But it’s not just because of Dana. Dana had Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta; he had money behind him.
For more on Big John, head over to Sports Illustrated.