by Woody on 7th October 2008


Big John McCarthy on Tuesday announced that he is leaving The Fight Network, and could possibly make a return to refereeing.

McCarthy is one of the most highly regarded referees in the sport of mixed martial arts, making his debut as an official at UFC 2. He retired late last year from refereeing to take a position as an analyst and production member for The Fight Network.

It seems that he hasn’t left his new employer on the best of terms. In his final blog entry on The Fight Network website, he said, “Well this is my farewell from the Fight Network. While I will not miss what has happened or transpired at the company, I am really going to miss some very special people that I have come to know and respect in my short time with them.” Later adding, “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.”

Perhaps more interesting to MMA fans is McCarthy leaving the door open for a possible return to refereeing. “A few people have said that I have attacked the UFC. 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.”

A return to refereeing could only serve to bolster the ranks of officiating in the sport, often considered by many to be one of MMA’s weaker links. McCarthy was one of the first referees to really push for some of the rules and guidelines that helped to shape MMA as we know it today, and helped introduce a standard for professionalism for officials.

McCarthy was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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