McCarthy: Greatest thing that the UFC had was Lorenzo Fertitta

Friday, May 18, 2018

John McCarthy has had a unique view on the development of the UFC. An original student of co-founder Rorion Gracie, he was initially tabbed to fight in one of the earliest events, but it was eventually determined that his best role would be as referee. That turned out to be genius, and the became the Dean of MMA Referees.

Bright and insightful, with unparalleled experience, McCarthy was recently a guest on The JRE MMA Show, and was asked to comment on where MMA is headed. ‘Big’ John noted that the sport needed to evolve for fighters, promoters, and for fans.

“When the UFC sold, and this is no disrespect to anyone … look, the greatest thing that the UFC had was Lorenzo Fertitta,” said McCarthy, as transcribed by Milan Ordoñez for “I’m just being honest. Dana White was fantastic for the UFC as far as his work effort and the amount of work he put into it and non-stop just going after deals, trying to make things happen.”

“He was the workhorse for it, but Lorenzo is the brains behind it. And the loss of him is great. You’ve already seen things.”

Rogan and McCarthy discussed some of the league’s problems, like covering a $4 billion note and the large number of events.


“For a while there, they were almost competing against themselves with pay-per-views,” said McCarthy. “You had two pay-per-views in a month, and you went and said ‘I’ll buy that one, I’m not gonna buy that one.’ You can’t be in business against yourself. They got rid of that.”

Endeavor definitely has long-term plans to realize a return on their $4 billion investment, but they appear to revolve around selling television rights. As McCarthy noted, for the sport to thrive, it has to evolve as well for the fighters and for the fans. That does not appear to be happening.