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    “Big” John McCarthy

ISBN: 9781605421414

Let’s Get It On! The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee

by: “Big” John McCarthy

With Loretta Hunt

Legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) referee “Big” John McCarthy’s trademarked call has signaled the start of some of the greatest battles in mixed martial arts.


Meet the Author
"Big" John McCarthy has been the world’s preeminent mixed martial arts referee for 17 years, beginning with his participation at UFC 2 on March 11, 1994, in Denver, Colorado. McCarthy has refereed over 1,500 bouts worldwide, including every major UFC event until UFC 77 (excluding two), until a one-year retirement in December of 2007. His unmatched tenure put him in the middle of many of the sport’s greatest moments, from Tito Ortiz–Ken Shamrock I at UFC 40 in 2002 to Randy Couture–Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 in March of 2007. After a one-year foray into color commentating and on-camera analysis for MMA and boxing events, McCarthy returned to his first love and reentered the cage as a referee at Strikeforce “Destruction” in November of 2008. On the eve of his return to MMA as a referee, McCarthy was named the first ever recipient of the World MMA Awards’ Lifetime Achievement accolade, voted on by the sport’s most prestigious journalists. McCarthy was one of the original authors of the set of mixed martial arts rules and regulations utilized today, and he is a recognized historian of the sport. His advocacy of the sport has been instrumental in the passage of MMA regulations in numerous states. McCarthy served as a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department from 1985 to 2007. McCarthy was awarded his tactical/self-defense instructor certification by the LAPD on August 12, 1993, and taught until his retirement on September 15, 2007. In his 22 years on the force, McCarthy instructed over 10,000 recruits in arrest and control procedures and survival tactics. In 2007, California State Senator James Battin awarded McCarthy with a commendation for his career accomplishments in the sport “for the work he has done to increase the safety, visibility, and importance of mixed martial arts.” In a separate proclamation, the California State Athletic Commission also recognized McCarthy for his “dedication and commitment to other officials in helping develop their skills and concern for athletes.” McCarthy was inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame in 2006 for his “outstanding achievements in the martial arts” and was the guest speaker at its 2007 gala. In September of 2006, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt opened Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy (BJMUTA), the first fully functional MMA gym in Valencia, California, where he also teaches. McCarthy drafted a curriculum and testing system for MMA referees and judges, which he unveiled at his first Certified Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development (COMMAND) seminar in Valencia on December 1, 2007. The program is often noted as the toughest of its kind in the United States. A pop culture icon, McCarthy has been spoofed in MAD magazine, starred as himself on the NBC series Friends in 1997, and made appearances as himself in a New Found Glory music video and the feature films The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It (2010) and Never Back Down 2 (2011).
Books of “Big” John McCarthy
About This Book

“Let’s get it on!”

Legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) referee “Big” John McCarthy’s trademarked call has signaled the start of some of the greatest battles in mixed martial arts.

A twenty-two-year LAPD veteran, survival tactics expert, and referee of over 500 UFC bouts, beginning with UFC 2, McCarthy has been the pillar of order amidst the chaos and controversy surrounding MMA, an emerging sport still struggling for acceptance. The mixed martial arts athletes standing on either side of the stoic official have evolved over the years—from karate black belts and single-gloved boxers to multidisciplined fighting machines competent in a host of combative arts. Still, McCarthy has remained at the center of the action, oftentimes the only man standing between an athlete and serious injury. With his unmatched tenure, McCarthy has experienced firsthand many of the sport’s greatest moments, from Tito Ortiz v. Ken Shamrock I at UFC 40 in 2002, to Randy Couture v. Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 in 2007.

Now, along with Loretta Hunt, one of the sport’s most respected journalists, the iconic referee shares his inside-the-cage account of MMA’s roller-coaster journey from unruly beginnings to mainstream attraction. Think you know the history of MMA? Let’s Get It On!


ISBN: 9781605421414
Publisher: Medallion Press Inc.
Publish Date: 2011
Page Count:

“Together the two have produced one of the best books ever written about the sport, Let's Get It On. It’s part history and part biography, both parts equally fascinating.” ~ Jonathen Snowden, MMA.SBNation.com “Plenty of personal anecdotes help turn this story of a fledgling (and often maligned) sport into an engaging memoir.” ~ Mary Frances Wilkens, Booklist (August 2011)

“Penned for the ultimate UFC fan, this exciting book details McCarthy’s rise to referee—from early big-time MMA events to early retirement to his recent return. The son of a tough-as-nails LAPD officer who invented the modern SWAT team, McCarthy describes memorable events of his childhood, such as beating up the kid who stole his new bike as well as his experiences in high school and his college career as a water polo player. He recounts his stint as a steroid-fueled weight lifter, his romance with his wife (don’t worry—he’s not exactly a romantic), his heroic role in the L.A. riots as a newly minted police officer, and finally his beginnings as a referee of mixed martial arts, which quickly earned a bad reputation for being ‘no holds barred.’ Each of the bouts he refereed is detailed from memory, which readers will enjoy. This is a testosterone-fueled, adrenaline-pumping joy ride, and fans will surely be thrilled to meet the man they know so well from TV.” ~ Publishers Weekly

“One of the most influential figures in MMA gets it on in this captivating book. Great storytelling, great insight, and a great history of the UFC’s rise. A subtle reminder that, much as we like the mano a mano of the sport, the third man in the arena can make all the difference.” ~ Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated Senior Writer, Author of Blood in the Cage

“A no-nonsense, hands-on account of the blood and sweat that lifted MMA from the sports blacklist and turned it into a billion-dollar industry. McCarthy didn't just observe history—he helped make it.” ~ Jake Rossen, ESPN.com Writer

“‘Big’ John McCarthy has long been MMA’s best and most knowledgeable official. He’s had the most amazing seat from the beginning in every arena this sport has ever been to—the hot seat in the cage!” ~ Randy Couture, UFC Hall of Famer and six-time champion

“MMA’s Mt. Rushmore is not complete without ‘Big’ John McCarthy. He’s been the long arm of the law inside and outside of the cage. The only thing bigger than his authoritative presence is his knowledge of the sport he helped build.” ~ Mauro Ranallo, MMA commentator

“‘Big’ John has been around from the UFC’s very beginnings and has experienced this sport from a perspective few will ever know.” ~ Chuck Liddell, UFC champion and Hall of Famer

“In all my fights over the years, there’s no one I’d rather have had in the cage or ring with me than ‘Big’ John McCarthy. He’s the original and still the best.” ~ Royce Gracie, UFC Hall of Famer