John McCarthy rips NSAC exec: 'Keith Kizer is a person that does not know combative sports'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Earlier this month, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) came under fire for judge C.J. Ross' inexcusable boxing scorecard, which scored Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez a 114-114 draw. Mayweather dominated the fight from pillar to post, yet the result ended in a majority decision due to Ross' puzzling dissension.

Ross, who also controversially scored Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao in favor of Bradley, took an indefinite leave of absence in the days after the Mayweather fight due to public outrage.

Nonetheless, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer defended Ross' scorecard and appointment, just as he did following the Bradley result.

"There comes a point where someone lies so much that you get tired of hearing things that come out," declared mixed martial arts referee John McCarthy on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.

"The truth is, Keith Kizer is a person that does not know combative sports. He's never been part of them. He's never done them. He puts people [in positions] at times that maybe shouldn't be put. You tell me why C.J. Ross said the Floyd Mayweather fight was a draw. Did you watch it? My god, I had it 11-1. It wasn't even close. So if you're doing that, you keep putting those same people back, you don't care about the fighters. You don't care about them as athletes, you don't care about their livelihood. And you know what? You shouldn't be in that job. And if someone doesn't like what I said, too bad."

McCarthy and Kizer have butted heads in the past. McCarthy voiced similar concerns regarding Kizer's dubious judging appointments years ago, which then lead to McCarthy's unofficial blacklist from refereeing events in the state of Nevada, despite McCarthy publicly apologizing and resubmitting his application for licensure in 2010.

At this point, though, McCarthy is done playing Kizer's game.

"The truth of the matter is this. I have nothing against the Nevada State Athletic Commission. They're a great commission. I (just) think they take too much from one person," McCarthy said.

"They sit there and that person's the one that picks their referees, the one that picks their judges, and they've had some problems. Well, that's Keith Kizer's problem. I don't work for Kieth Kizer. I would work for an athletic commission; love to work for them. I would never work for Keith Kizer. Never.

"If he's in charge, if he's the executive director, I want nothing to do with it."

McCarthy went on to state his belief that the forces in charge of regulating MMA have become complacent about improving the current system, despite the many flaws that continue to rear their head.

"It's not about me. It's about the sport," McCarthy said. "It's about the sport of MMA, it's about the sport of boxing. Tell me this: why is it that if you have professional athletes, why is it that you don't use the very best that you have available to you for those athletes? It's not like that lesser person can't do a good job. But overall, who's going to do your best jobs? Who's going to be fairest to the athletes? Who's going to do the best overall job that makes that fight fair?

"That's what you should be looking at as an executive director of a commission. Who can I put in this that's going to do me the best job so I have as little controversy as possible? You can always have controversy. But you want it to be as little as possible. That's what you should be looking at. I don't know if that's what's going on."

An example McCarthy cited in his argument was the 10-point must scoring system. McCarthy and others adapted the system from boxing in the early days of MMA, yet as more and more fights end in controversy, irrevocably changing athletes' lives and leading to a widespread distrust of the judges, McCarthy believes the system is one that the sport has outgrown.

"If you look at the amount of rounds that we have, comparatively to boxing, boxing is going a championship fight to 12 rounds and we're going to have one at five. The shortest boxing match you're going to get is a four rounder. Our norm is a three," McCarthy said.

"That makes it very difficult at times, with a person who gives a (bad) score. It's hard to make up for the fighter."

Without a true, lone governing body to oversee the sport, McCarthy ultimately understands the senseless amount of red tape that stands between any individual's ability to make sweeping changes. But while each state commission dictates its own region, there's no denying the NSAC is believed to be the standard from which other commissions mold themselves after.

And in that regard, McCarthy simply holds out hope that the NSAC will do its due diligence to fine-tune the sport for future generations.

"We have an unbelievable sport," McCarthy said in closing. "You take a look at that fight on Saturday night, two guys who weighed in at 205, they're probably 225, 230, going that hard, that long, with that much skill level involved, that much heart -- what more can you ask from a sport? That's art. To me, that's beautiful. And we've got to always be working to make it better for the next generation coming up.

"I think there comes a point where things become very personal for people, and their reason for doing them is sometimes to say, ‘I have power. You don't. Let me show you what I'll do.' That's their choice. But in the end, usually it'll catch up to them. And I think maybe now it's catching up to them."

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