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No Big John at UFC 104

I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s still disappointing: Big John McCarthy will NOT be reffing at UFC 104 this weekend. McCarthy is licensed to ref in California and has been doing shows there for over a year since coming back from retirement, so we were kinda sorta hoping that the UFC’s return to the state would feature Big John’s return to the cage. But alas … no deal. Sherdog tried to get to the bottom of the situation and here’s what they were told:

Dave Thornton, interim executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, replied to an email request from Sherdog last Thursday inquiring about criteria for referees to officiate UFCs and how those officials are selected to work shows.

“McCarthy is a licensed referee in California and as such is on our regular rotation list for MMA refs,” Thornton wrote. “McCarthy is assigned to a Strikeforce show in November in Fresno.”

Follow-up inquiries were sent Thursday and Monday to the CSAC’s Thornton asking for more specific criteria about who is assigned to referee UFCs, if McCarthy met the criteria, as well as which referees have been assigned to UFC 104. Those inquiries were not answered as of press time late Tuesday.

Now since this is the CSAC we’re talking about, I suppose there’s always the chance that they’re lying about this and big jerk Dana White asked them not to assign BJM to the card. But the more likely reason is the commission was aware of the rift between Big John and the UFC and just decided not to push the subject.

Oh, and speaking of the rift, Steve Cofield over at Yahoo has the news that Big John is not one of the refs or history cards included in the UFC Topps trading card set. Just a small thing, but still fucking annoying. Anyone who thinks he doesn’t belong in there for his 13 years of UFC omnipresence has a pretty 1984 way of thinking. I’m still fuzzy on what exactly McCarthy did to become a UFC pariah (there must be more to it than this), but there’s no doubt that’s the position he’s currently stuck in.

(image of Big John by tokyudo, who also has a pretty slick picture of a reverse triangle going down)