The man signs thousands of autographs each year, has a t-shirt line, owns a gym and even has his own action figure. No it's not MLB umpire Tim McClelland, NBA ref Joey Crawford, NFL referee Ed Hochuli or boxing ref Joe Cortes. Most fans of those sports hate their big-name officials. Only in mixed martial arts could a guy like "Big" John McCarthy, the merchandising machine, reach popularity levels on par with some top 25 fighters. It's bizarre.
Big John was forced to walk away from his MMA reffing gig when he chose to collect a check from several promotions and media outlets. Now he wants back in and many states are saying there's no room. That includes his homestate California, where he has been re-licensed but wasn't assigned to UFC 104 in Los Angeles. Let the UFC conspiracy theorists howl. It's time for an investigation! Maybe it's time for another Twitter campaign to bring the big man back.
"McCarthy is a licensed referee in California and as such is on our regular rotation list for MMA refs," Dave Thornton, interim executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, wrote Sherdog. "McCarthy is assigned to a Strikeforce show in November in Fresno."
McCarthy rubbed some athletic commissioners the wrong way when he said the state MMA judging and officiating was horrible.
In even worse news, Big John will not be getting a Topps UFC trading card. Jeremy Fullerton from Topps broke the horrific news on the TapouT Radio Show. What the hell! Josh Rosenthal and Yves Lavigne got a card. Fullerton said the decision to give us fans the much coveted Big John card was out of his hands. When will the persecution stop?