In 2008, pioneering refereee "Big" John McCarthy took a job as a color commentator with then UFC rival Affliction MMA. In addition, McCarthy made some criticial remarks about White. White responded characteristically. The pair have likely not exchanged Christmas cards since.
However, following UFC on FOX 9, White was effusive in his praise for McCarthy, calling him one of the two best refs in the sport.
“John McCarthy and I might have had our moments throughout the years, but I’ll tell you what I love about McCarthy, and it happened again tonight,” said White at the post fight press conference. “When John is in that Octagon, he is in absolute and total control.”
“I like how they had McCarthy and Dean going back-to-back on some fights. You know who the good referees are. You know who they are. Do it. Put the right guys in there. It makes sense. They’re not working too much. They’re in there moving around and they’re watching.”
“Lauzon headbutted (his opponent Mac Danzig), and he stopped the fight and said, ‘Watch your head. Everybody in the arena knew there was a headbutt, and everybody watching on TV knew it was stopped and there was a warning for a headbutt. That’s what you do.
“When you’re the ref, you’re in control and you’re in charge. There are other people who ref that are just completely not in charge when they’re in there, and they make calls out of the f—ing blue. They don’t warn people, and if they do, they don’t let everyone know they’ve been warned.”
“Are [McCarthy and Dean] perfect? Are they going to make mistakes? Sometimes they are. But it’s hard to argue that they’re the best in there.”
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