Legendary MMA referee, ‘Big’ John McCarthy, recently appeared on the ‘MMA Roasted‘ Podcast to speak with Adam Hunter about various topics. His comments regarding friend and former MMA referee, Josh Rosenthal (who is currently serving time in prison for his role in a large-scale marijuana operation), were especially interesting. McCarthy also spoke of his conversation with fellow referee, Kim Winslow, about her controversial judgement in the brutal 2010 fight between Cris Cyborg and Jan Finney.
The following is McCarthy’s response when Adam Hunter asked about Josh Rosenthal’s situation:
“Well you know, the truth of the matter is this – Josh is my friend, I talk to Josh almost every week, still. I knew about the incident that Josh became involved in about a year before it came out in the press. And yeah, I talked to him and I told him everything I thought that was going to happen, I told him what I thought he needed to do, because he’s my friend. You know, and people say to me ‘but you’re a cop’, that doesn’t matter, I’m going to be honest, I will tell you , I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life, not once. But if you’re going to ask me whats better, marijuana or alcohol, I’ve never once had anyone try to kick my ass that was high on marijuana, but I’ve had a whole lot of drunk bastards try it. So, to sit there and say ‘is marijuana that bad’ it’s my personal opinion – legalize it. Put taxes on it, let’s make money off that sucker.”
Hunter also spoke with McCarthy about other referees and mentioned that he felt Kim Winslow doesn’t allow fighters to fight on the ground enough. McCarthy said the following:
“You know, I’ve never had that conversation with Kim. To be honest I don’t think Kim likes me much, because the one conversation I’ve really had with her, that had any affect, was after a fight of hers and I don’t think she liked what I said, so.”
Hunter asked John to elaborate on what he said to Winslow:
“You know, truth of the matter is, some things that have helped me, some of the things that have helped someone like her is; I do this, I do this sport. I train people, I get my ass kicked at times – I don’t like to tell people about that, but I’ve been positions where I’ve had someone on-top of me because I’m exhausted and I can’t get them off and I can’t stop what they’re doing, and I know what it’s like. It’s very nice when the referee does understand, because there’s times when, you know, again, fighters are so tough they’re not going to tap out because they look at that as a weakness in them.
It used to be that tapping out was looked at as it’s a noble and honorable thing for fighters to do, and fighters basically put a turn on it where ‘well if you’re in a submission hold that is a joint-affecting, it’s a heel hook, it’s a kneebar, it’s an arm lock, it’s a shoulder lock, if it’s that type of thing and you need to tap out, hey go ahead. But if you you’re getting punched on and you tap out to strikes, you know what, ‘that’s weak’. Now, do I personally believe that? No I don’t, but that’s what you’ll get among fighters, and a referee has to understand what it’s like to be that person.
And it is your job, and even though it’s not popular, it’s your job to take the heat and get the fighter out of there, to stop the fight, it’s what’s good for the sport, it’s whats good for the fighter to comeback and fight another time and if someone doesn’t like it and they think that you’re bad for it and get mad at you – no big deal, not everyone’s going to like you. This is not a job for you to be popular.
Kim Winslow had a fight with Cris Cyborg and Jan Finney here in California, and afterwards she asked me to talk to her about the fight. She asked me ‘do you think I should have stopped the fight’, and I said ‘no Kim I don’t think you should have stopped the fight; I know you should have stopped the fight’.
And I asked her a question and I tried to be respectful and I said ‘ look, no disrespect to you but I have to ask you a question, have you ever, in your life, had someone beating on you and that you could not stop it , and they’re just beating the dog shit out of you?’ and she looked at me and said ‘no’ and I said ‘again, no disrespect, but maybe you need to have it happen’. If you’ve never been there, sometimes it’s like, ‘oh, they’re ok’ – No, fighters will many times lose the ability to intelligently think about what they’re trying to do, and everything they’re trying to do is instinctive, hold on to something, grab a hold of it, duck my head, there’s not a lot of conscious thought about it because they’ve been overwhelmed.”
Big John McCarthy makes his appearance at the 1:02:30 mark of the podcast.
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