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UFC Fans Launch Twitter Campaign for Big John McCarthy

Has there ever been a more popular referee, in any sport, than Big John McCarthy? Maybe Mills Lane in boxing, or (until a big mistake last year) Ed Hochuli in football, but I don't know if either ref was as universally beloved in his sport as McCarthy is in mixed martial arts.

Going all the way back to UFC 2, McCarthy has been the official in MMA, but he hasn't worked a UFC fight since 2007, when he left to become a broadcaster and said some things that irritated the UFC brass. McCarthy is back to refereeing, but he's not back in the UFC -- and some fans are taking to Twitter to try to change that. explains that the campaign is simple: Just log onto Twitter and urge UFC President Dana White to invite McCarthy back into the Octagon by typing, "@danawhiteufc BRING BACK BIG JOHN! #UFC."

As I see it, there are two questions about this Twitter campaign:

1. Is it even up to White whether Big John returns to the UFC?
2. If the answer to (1) is yes, will White do something just because fans tell him to do it?

Although the state athletic commissions hire the refs, I believe the answer to (1) is yes. The UFC is powerful enough to influence the state commissions, and that means if White pushes the California State Athletic Commission to put Big John in the Octagon for UFC 104, it will. If he pushes the Commission not to put Big John in the Octagon, it won't. (And for UFC 105, which is in the UK, there is no state athletic commission and it's completely up to White.)

But as for the answer to (2), I think White already knows that the fans like Big John and would like to see him back in the Octagon, so I'm not convinced this Twitter campaign will be effective. When Big John was working as an MMA commentator, he became, in White's eyes, a competitor, rather than a partner. It's true that other people who became competitors, including Tito Ortiz, have made peace with White, but Ortiz makes fans buy fights on pay-per-view. McCarthy, for all his popularity, does not.

And so I think every single UFC fan on Twitter asking White to bring back Big John is unlikely to be effective. If Big John wants back into the Octagon, he's going to have to be the one to convince White to bring him back.

Do you want Big John back in the Octagon? Tell me on Twitter @MichaelDavSmith.

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