The WEC is returning to Sacramento California on January 10th and features Jamie Varner vs Benson Henderson for the WEC lightweight belt. It should be a barnburner, plus I’m looking forward to seeing who wins just so I can start looking forward to seeing either poor bastard face Donald Cerrone again. But on top of some great fights, we might witness something else pretty cool at that show: Big John McCarthy reffing a Zuffa event.
Yeah, it’s not the UFC. And it may not happen. But Sherdog is making sure that everyone knows it could so if it doesn’t we can all ask why.
While McCarthy’s fate in Nevada remains nebulous, he is currently licensed by the CSAC and works shows there. He is also licensed in Utah, Illinois, Ohio and some jurisdictions in Canada.
Dave Thornton, interim executive officer of the CSAC, addressed questions from Sherdog.com on the matter via phone and e-mail. In light of McCarthy’s past comments critical of officiating made while he was a paid commentator for the sport, Sherdog.com asked Thornton about who made the assignments for UFC and WEC events.
“Though we have many officials who are working their way up, right now we have only a small pool of about 10 referees qualified to work large promotions,” said Thornton. “We select referees based on experience, training and number of bouts each has to date… We do not keep track of our referees by who has worked what particular promotion, e.g., Strikeforce, WEC, UFC. Our referees are not categorized as ‘accepted’ by any promoter. They are either qualified for any large promotion, or they’re not.”
I’ll accept at face value (okay I won’t but I’ll pretend to for this post) that there was nothing fishy with Big John sitting out UFC 104 in LA, but a second skipped event would make things pretty obvious.
And for what reason? Luke over at Bloody Elbow points out that in a sea of incompetent ref dumb-assery, Big John is a tropical island of knowledge and competence. He also points out that the reasons for McCarthy to sit out are nothing more than theoretical bullshit:
Ultimately, though, the dispute falls apart when the rubber meets the road. When you actually try to cobble together a case against McCarthy’s that rests on a) figuring out some semblance of a coherent worldview and b) that said worldview would cause him to betray his record of general excellence in favor of disrupting Zuffa’s operations, you realize this is highly, highly improbable. It takes a big leap in logic to assume McCarthy will tailor stoppages or not enforce the Unified Rules to adjust outcomes against Zuffa’s inferred interests.
So let’s all cross our fingers and hope the CSAC assigns Big John to WEC 46, and from there all ill will can disappear, the UFC can start requesting McCarthy at all their shows across America like they used to, and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the best MMA ref in the business is back with the best MMA promotion in the world.
Of course, far more likely is McCarthy continuing to be banished from the UFC for the foreseeable future. Why? Oh, I dunno.