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Jon Jones 'would prefer any other referee' besides John McCarthy at UFC 200

LOS ANGELES -- Last week, the Nevada Athletic Commission named veteran referee John McCarthy as the third man in the Octagon for the UFC 200 main event between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.

The assignment was made over the objections of Jones' camp. And while the man many consider the world's best pound-for-pound fighter doesn't want to make public his specific reasons for his concerns, Jones has doubled down on the notion he doesn't want McCarthy officiating the July 9 fight in Las Vegas.

"I would prefer any other referee but him," Jones said Tuesday.

McCarthy, a former Los Angeles police officer, has officiated mixed martial arts since UFC 2 and helped author the current Unified Rules which oversee the sport. He's also been the third man in on several of Jones' biggest bouts, including matchups with Alexander Gustafsson and Vitor Belfort.

Regardless, Jones said there were several factors which made him request an official besides McCarthy.

"It's been a mixture of many things throughout the years," Jones said. "Just the energy. I don't feel like we have the best energy. It's an accumulation of some of the things that happened during some fights and just personal interactions. I just don't feel as, you don't need anything stacking up against you when you're fighting a great fighter like DC."

Jones also believes that if he was in McCarthy's shoes, and knew one of the fighters involved didn't want him there, he'd voluntarily recuse himself from the fight.

"He [officiates] probably once a week somewhere," Jones said. "For me, this is my life, this is my story, this is my legacy. This is everything to me, and if I don't agree with his energy that he brings to the fight, if I was him, I wouldn't want to be a part of it. You know what I mean? If you're not welcome, why would you even want to be part of someone's big night who doesn't want you there. I would say, ‘you know, I'll back out of this one, I don't need to be a part of this one.'"

That's not likely to happen. But Jones holds out hope someone else will be in the cage come July 9.

"I feel as though we haven't had the best interactions over the years, and I would just hope he's not the referee."

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