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Famed Ref 'Big' John McCarthy to Return to Octagon at UFC on Versus 2

<! mediaid=3206155 AP: img hspace="4" border="1" align="right" vspace="4" src="" alt="" />Famed mixed martial arts referee "Big" John McCarthy will return to the UFC's octagon for the first time since 2007 when he oversees action during the upcoming UFC on Versus 2 show.

McCarthy's wife Elaine confirmed to MMA Fighting that he has been assigned by the California State Athletic Commission to officiate matches at the event, which takes place on Sunday at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, Calif.

Elaine McCarthy said he does not yet know what specific fights he will handle during the evening, and that he would not be providing any comments or interviews about his return prior to the event.



McCarthy first refereed at UFC 2 in 1994 and quickly became well known as one of the top third men in the sport. A longtime police officer in the Los Angeles police department, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder cut an imposing figure in the cage, and was often much larger than the men he was in charge of.

Known for his "Let's get it on" catch phrase which instructed competitors to begin the fight, McCarthy became a staple of MMA, reffing over 500 UFC fights during his tenure, with his last time in the octagon coming on Dec. 8, 2007, when he watched over Roger Huerta submitting Clay Guida with a rear naked choke.

Afterward, he retired to explore new opportunities, including a stint as an MMA analyst on the Canada-based Fight Network. He is also in the midst of writing an autobiography.

After leaving active refereeing, some of McCarthy's opinions about the direction of the sport put him at odds with the UFC and president Dana White, who admitted the UFC and McCarthy were "not on great terms."

McCarthy returned to refereeing in Nov. 2008, but despite holding licenses in multiple states including California and Ohio, he was not given any UFC officiating duties until now. In January, however, he was assigned to WEC 46 as a judge.

As to the possibility of any last-minute changes, promoters are able to protest referee assignments, but the final decision rests with the athletic commission.
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