“Big” John McCarthy is not impressed with the referee’s controversial call to stop the Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev bout at UFC Norfolk.
The contest got off to a weird start, when Cutelaba charged across the Octagon and bumped into his Russian opponent. Security were forced to separate the two men, and the aggression carried over into the fight.
The two Light-Heavyweights traded punches and kicks from the get-go. Magomed Ankalaev was able to land a few shots early on that appeared to wobble Cutelaba. The referee, Kevin MacDonald, hastily intervened and put a stop the contents, resulting in a TKO victory for Ankalaev. Ion Cutelaba and many spectators (including Ariel Helwani) were frustrated by the arguably early stoppage.
“Big” John McCarthy is one of the most recognisable referees in the sport of MMA. He recently appeared on an episode of the Weighing In Podcast with Josh Thomson, where he shared his thoughts on the referee and the stoppage:
“It was absolutely horrendous…Kevin MacDonald, you’re lucky the fighter didn’t sock you in the face. You’re extremely lucky he didn’t beat your ass, I thought he was gonna,” said Josh Thomson.
“First off, if you’re gonna do the jobs that are associated with the commission, then do the godd*mn job,” added “Big” John McCarthy.
“If you’re gonna be an inspector and your job is to be in that fighter’s corner and make sure the fighter stays in the corner, then why are you watching and standing there like a fan, and allowing this fighter to walk over? You know, you can start to walk with him. If he stops halfway, you can stop with him no problem. But as soon as he crosses that midway point, your hands start to pull him away ‘hey don’t even think about it’, and you move him back if you’re the referee. What are you doing? You’re standing in there because you’re so cool?
“You’ve got to be paying attention when both fighters are in the cage, that cage is your responsibility. As soon as one steps in, once one as one steps out, you don’t have to worry about anything. But when they’re both in there, your attention is on the fighters. So, that whole bit when they come together. That could’ve ended horribly, it didn’t, but it did about 38 seconds later.
“If you’re gonna do a job, do the goddamn job. Quit trying to look cool, quit trying to be a fan, do your freaking’ job.”
McCarthy puts half of the blame on the commission, who aren’t doing enough to discipline the referees or prevent finishes like this from happening again in the future:
“You know it’s simple, and this is what’s wrong. The commission itself, what are they gonna do? Nothing. That inspector should be taken and ‘hey, you’re gonna stay in the back from now on since you don’t know what to do when you’re out here in the cage, under the lights in front of the cameras. Well, I’m going to put you in a place where you don’t have as much thinking capabilities needed.’
“It’s just the way it is. This is the way you’re supposed to run something, it’s a business!”
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 2nd March, 2020.