Veteran MMA referee John McCarthy was recently hired by Bellator MMA as one of its newest commentators. It is a new venture that “Big John” is looking forward to, alongside his current job as an official.
With the departure of longtime analyst Jimmy Smith, McCarthy feels he was hired by Bellator to educate fans about regulations and officiating, one of the many aspects of the sport that is usually riddled with controversies.
“I think that’s a big part of why Bellator thought of me to do this,” McCarthy told MMA Fighting. “I think they’re looking at it as the more educated their fans are, the more they’re gonna enjoy the sport, the more they’re gonna understand what’s going on, the more they’re gonna understand why the judges are doing something the way they are, why the referee is doing something.”
“I’m here for the entire aspect of the fight. What the fighters are doing, why someone is being successful, what the other person has to do to counter what they’re being successful with,” he added. “That’s all stuff that they’re hearing now. But there’s nobody right now that’s out there that can explain and educate to the fans the rules of the sport and why fighters need to do something or why judges are going with one fighter over the other in a specific situation.”
“I think I bring that — even at this early start of my career in commentating — I bring that to the table, while a lot of people are guessing when they’re putting something out.”
The 55-year-old McCarthy, who is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, was sidelined last July when he was injured while teaching one of his students the D’arce choke during training. After two surgeries, he was made to rethink his career, which led him to accept this new opportunity.
“That injury made me kind of re-look at things. I don’t want to be a guy who’s holding on or stepping into the cage when there’s somebody else that can actually do a better job because I’m not prepared.”