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John McCarthy leaves The Fight Network and hints at possible return to officiating

Long-time mixed martial arts referee John McCarthy announced Tuesday that he is leaving Canada-based combat sports cable channel The Fight Network.

While McCarthy did not specify his exact reasons for leaving, he left indications that he was not satisfied with some of the actions of the channel’s upper management.

“To all of the higher ups that have taken over the Fight Network over the last year I only have this to say………….. Shame on you………………,” McCarthy wrote in a farewell blog on the company’s website.

McCarthy had worked with TFN on a part-time basis the past several years but elected to stop officiating fights last December in order to accept a full-time position with the company as both an ambassador and on-air commentator. At the time, McCarthy had expressed that he wanted to continue in both roles but that the Nevada State Athletic Commission informed him it was a conflict of interest.

An official since UFC 2 in 1994, McCarthy officiated his final match at last December’s live season finale for the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being employed by the commission, McCarthy only officiated bouts under the UFC banner.

In his final blog, McCarthy, a retired police officer and current fight gym owner, hinted that his next move could be a return to refereeing.

“A few people have said that I have attacked the UFC,” wrote McCarthy. “That is simply not true. I have never said anything bad about the UFC. I spent 14 years of my life trying to build up the UFC and make people understand how incredible the fighters of MMA were. I considered myself very lucky in the fact that I was able to be around the UFC for as long as I was and you never know maybe I will go back to refereeing and someday work another UFC.”

  • tomk says:

    It just doesn’t seem right not watching Big John ref main event fights. His expertise is sorely missed — here’s hoping he makes it back into the cage.

  • Matt Cava says:

    I can’t wait for his return to reffing. The best there is.

  • Jerry MacWire says:

    It was inevitable. I had great hopes for The Fight Network when they first started up. They are run like a third rate organization, full of So You Wanna Fight videos and endless reruns of dated interviews.

    The absolute worse use of Big John was on a so called “talk show” where they had him in between a couple of loud mouthed rasslin’ radio personalities one of whom kept interrupting McCarthy anytime he was speaking.

    Who do you want to hear speak their opinion of MMA, a WWE type radio guy or Big John? That is exactly how they wasted their talent, consistently.

    Good luck John, you are truly one of the most knowledgeable people in the MMA world. Here’s to hoping you get on with one of the big three in states as MMA gets more mainstream.
    Exactly TFN, shame on you!

  • Bad Monkey says:

    Definitely look forward to seeing Big John back in the Octagon, the best MMA ref of all time.

  • Tony Fennen says:

    I think Big John is what the sport is missing… He should not restrict himself to only UFC events.

  • Robert says:

    John McCarthy was not employed as a referee by the UFC he worked for the athletic commision and he did ref other events besides ones in the UFC.

  • KTru says:

    An official since UFC 2 in 1994, McCarthy officiated his final match at last December’s live season finale for the sixth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being employed by the commission, McCarthy only officiated bouts under the UFC banner.


  • Tim says:

    Big John was the best and he’ll be the best if/when he comes back.

  • Neil says:

    It’s hard to excalim how excited I am at the possibility that Big John back to reff’ng. After some wonly officiating these past few years, it would be great for him to come back and show them all how it’s done.. or at least do the main events. Seeing Roy Nelson (who may not have won anyway) get stood up against Arlovski was terrible. Big Dan’s Thompson stoppage was quite questionable, in my eyes.

    I’ve got to wonder if McCarthy will still get in on Fight Network Radio on Mondays and Fridays though…

  • Brandon says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen McCarthy ref some fights out in Japan for either K1 or the Inoki event….

    Terrible news though on The Fight Network. It was really good when he was on doing pre fight and post fight shows and shooting the breeze with Randy and Mauro. His work along side Mauro for the TKO event was great, I’d even wager to say he was better then Rogan since you could tell he would give an impartial opinion instead of playing favorites like Joe sometimes tends to do.

  • Loco541 says:

    i hope he does come back to reffing, he was a true professional and one of the very few refs i could never disagree with. I almost think he should do some reffing classes, teach these other refs how to actually call a fight. I swear im sick of mazagati(dont know if i spelled it right) and these other refs being tarded and calling fights wrong or stopping them to early.

  • Robert says:

    KTru before you posts comments make sure there right John McCarthy refereed other event besides the UFC he did events in Japan including the Akebono vs. Royce Gracie fight among others.What did you think he only worked as a referee once a month?

  • KTru says:

    He may have did a COUPLE other events, but according to the write up on this topic, it did read that exact line. ( Yeah some of us actually read the articles too).

    Plus Big John had many other “jobs” going on as well. While he was a cop, he also was a Tactics and Self Defense instructor who taught many policemen and women the “how to” techniques and even BJJ. That was his day job. And oh yeah, he also trains others at being a ref.

    So why would I just think that the UFC was the ONLY job he had?

  • Robert says:

    KTru just admit you’re WRONG stating John McCarthy only refereed for the UFC that’s what you said.You’re also not the only one who reads articles you should have read Big John’s bio that way you would not be posting untrue comments KTru.


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