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Big John McCarthy: Model Ref




There is a reason "Big" John McCarthy is the model referee in the sport. Does he make mistakes every now and again? Of course he's human. But those mistakes happen less often than not, and in a job where he oversees the well being of combatants and their adherence to the unified rules of MMA, that counts.

Bellator 92 under card heavyweights Josh Apelt and Manny Lara fought a fairly mundane fight by regional, heavyweight fight standards. There was a lot of heavy breathing, stalling against the cage while hunting for a takedown that was rarely every there. Some wild exchanges and a fair amount of blood kept things relatively fun.

The extraordinary part of this fight was the flagrant fouls committed by Manny Lara. At the tail end of the first round, Lara connected with a knee to the head of a downed opponent. Apelt's knees were down as well, to clarify any confusion. It wasn't as if he was stalled in a headlock with one hand on the mat. John McCarthy stepped in, called time, and deducted a point from Lara. Absolutely the right call, the foul was utterly egregious and Apelt went limp briefly after the knee connected.

McCarthy did his job, and did it well. After the ringside physician gave the okay for Apelt to continue, the lumbering pace resumed for the next round. In the third however, things got even weirder.

Apelt had side control on a turtled up Lara, landing lackadaisical left hands. Out of nowhere, Lara sends two upward hammerfists straight into the cup of Apelt, causing him to double over in pain. McCarthy stepped in, gave Apelt a breather, and then showed himself to be the best in the business.

He gave Lara the best scolding a referee could, and told him to be a "God damn MMA competitor." Afterwards, he proceeded to deduct two points for the completely flagrant fouls, and Lara would go on to lose the fight 30-24(3x).

McCarthy did his job to a T. He made sure rules were enforced, and he kept fighters honest. It's a shame he may likely never get licensed again by the NSAC, because in a world where Steve Mazzagati and Kim Winslow make calls that blow the mind, a top tier professional would certainly be welcomed.

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