'Big' John McCarthy

'Big' John McCarthy



Big John McCarthy is an American professional referee and mixed martial arts (MMA) judge. He was born in 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona, and is known for his work with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

McCarthy was one of the first referees in the UFC, officiating more than 400 fights from UFC 2 in 1994 until his retirement in 2016. He also served as a commentator, analyst, and judge for the organization.

McCarthy was a police officer in Los Angeles before joining the UFC. He used his training and experience to help standardize the rules and regulations of mixed martial arts to make the sport safer and more organized. He also created the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which serve as the foundation for the sport in many countries.

McCarthy has also served as a referee for other MMA organizations, including Strikeforce, Pride Fighting Championships, K-1, Affliction, and World Extreme Cagefighting. In addition, he has been a referee in boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai matches.

McCarthy is highly respected in the MMA community for his professionalism and fairness. He is the founder of the Big John McCarthy's Ultimate Training Center, a gym in California that provides training in mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He also hosts a podcast and has created a line of clothing.

McCarthy is a member of the International MMA Hall of Fame and has been awarded the 2013 “Referee of the Year” by the World MMA Awards. He is also the author of the book Let’s Get It On! The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee.

Throughout his career, McCarthy has been an advocate for the UFC and MMA, helping to bring the sport to the mainstream. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest referees and judges in MMA history.


Dec. 17, 1962

Place of birth

Los Angeles, California, USA

Known for