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Morning Report: ‘Big’ John McCarthy weighs in on the Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus no contest: ‘That was the right call for what occurred in this fight’

MMA: OCT 01 UFC Vegas 38 Weigh-In Photo by Diego Ribas/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 38, one of the most anticipated fights on the card was the the co-main event between Kevin Holland and Kyle Daukaus. Unfortunately for fans, the bout did not deliver a satisfying conclusion when, in the opening round, a clash of heads resulted in Holland being dropped to the canvas. Daukaus followed up with ground and pound and ultimately secured a standing rear-naked choke that forced Holland to submit. However, after the bout was waived off, instant replay confirmed that Holland was initially hurt by the accidental headbutt and after review, referee Dan Miragliotta ruled the bout a No Contest. The decision wasn’t popular with some fans, and even Holland himself said afterwards that he feels Daukaus deserved the win, but one of the most respected referees ever says the we got the right outcome in the end.

‘Big’ John McCarthy is the most famous MMA referee of all time, starting his career back at UFC 2, and he literally helped wrote the rulebook for MMA, and on his Weighing In podcast, McCarthy spoke about the UFC Vegas 38 situation, first talking about how referee Dan Miragliotta didn’t handle things correctly during the fight.

“The real telling part was, you don’t know what the referee sees,” McCarthy said. “So I’m looking at it and I’m like, that one you should have seen. Based upon where you were at, the position he was at, and the way that Kevin fell when they came apart. He went face first, he was out. When he hit the ground, he woke up. It was like getting punched. He got hit on the jaw, it wasn’t like it was his forehead or anything like that, and it snapped his head. He was not in any way prepared for that and it put him out. But the telling part was when Dan said, ‘I saw it but I rushed in there and then he started fighting.’ This is where all, all, MMA referees make mistakes.

“This is not, ‘Oh, he’s fighting, let it go.’ You don’t do that because if you see the headbutt - many times you’ll see a head clash and neither guy responds to it at all. So instead of stopping the action, if there’s no cut, no damage you can see, you just come close to them and say, ‘Watch your heads inside,’ or something to that effect because you can see it did not effect either fighter. But if you have anything that shows a guy had an effect - and a guy getting knocked down, if you say, ‘I saw that was a clash of heads’ and you see a guy getting knocked down - it’s time to go stop time, no matter that he comes back out of it. I’m gonna get him up, I’m gonna take him over to the corner and let him clear out the cobwebs if there is that there, and then I’m gonna have the doctor look at him and if the doctor says he’s okay, we’ll put him back into the fight....

“You’ve got to take that time. The thing is, the referee doesn’t want to interfere with the action of the fight, but you have to interfere with the action of the fight if you can see that it visibly caused damage to one fighter or to both fighters. You’ve got to give them time.”

Much of the controversy surrounding the decision was simply about how things unfolded. The no-contest was only rendered after the bout via the use of instant replay to confirm the illegal nature of the blow, however, because Holland was allowed to continue fighting, many felt that even though an illegal blow started things, since the bout wasn’t stopped there, Daukaus should get the win. But McCarthy says that this is exactly what the implementation of instant replay is for and that, even though things weren’t perfect in the real-time execution, the correct verdict was rendered.

“Now in the state of California, we can go and look at that instant replay and reverse it,” McCarthy said. “Same as now with what Nevada has implemented with their ringside official being the replay official. They handled this, and it’s okay if it takes more than one person to come up with the idea of, ‘This is the direction we need to go,’ as long as that direction is the right direction for the fighters. So I’m very happy that they have Herb being that replay official. I’m happy that you saw Jeff Mullins, who is in charge of the fight for the state of Nevada, he was definitely a part of it and talking to them, you saw other officials coming in and giving information about what they saw, which in the end forced or made, because we kind of thought that Dan was gonna go with, ‘Nope, I’m gonna leave it the way it is,’ but all of that input told him, ‘No, I need to make this a no-contest,’ and that was the right call for what occurred in this fight.”

“Kevin Holland did not deserve to lose the fight based upon being hurt by a clash of heads. That’s not within the legality of the sport and so he shouldn’t lose based upon the injury that he suffered and the damage that he suffered from that which put him in a situation where the choke made him tap later on. So in the end, the right thing was done and that’s good for the sport of MMA...

“I thought overall, great job by the state of Nevada and the athletic commission in allowing all those people to come together and to talk about what’s the best thing, not only for the fighters but for the sport.”

Following the no-contest, both Holland and Daukaus have shown an interest in doing an immediate rematch, which is likely to take place near the end of this year or early in 2022.


Results. Thiago Santos scapes out decision win over Johnny Walker at UFC Vegas 38.

Results. Michael Page gets revenge on Douglas Lima with contentious split decision win at Bellator 267.

Reaction. Miesha Tate reacts to Aspen Ladd UFC Vegas 38 weight miss: ‘Everybody saw you cheat’.

No contest. Kevin Holland says Kyle Daukaus deserved the win: ‘As far as I’m concerned, he knocked me out and choked me out in one fight’.

Gamebred. Jorge Masvidal ‘demands’ fight from UFC, rips ‘coward’ Leon Edwards for turning down matchup against him.

Injury. Aljamain Sterling explains decision to withdraw from UFC 267, hopes to return in December.

Goals. Dan Hooker: Beating Islam Makhachev is ‘next best thing’ to beating Khabib Nurmagomedov.


UFC Vegas 38 Post Show.

UFC Vegas 38 Post Fight Press Conference.

Claressa Shields discussing her return to MMA.

Khabib discussing his views and ends with a banger of a joke.


On To The Next One. Matches to make following UFC Vegas 38.




Dustin Poirier.

A wager has been made.


Stitches for Niko Price.

GSP surprising Khabib at the Arnold Sports Festival.

Fight poster.


Caio Borralho (9-1, 1 NC) vs. Jesse Murray (8-3); Contender Series, Oct. 19.

Brian Kelleher (23-12) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2); UFC Fight Night, Jan. 15.

Kay Hansen (7-4) vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius (6-1); UFC Fight Night, Jan. 15.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Do you agree with Big John?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Yes, No Contest.
    (632 votes)
  • 8%
    No, Daukaus won.
    (57 votes)
689 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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