Big John McCarthy Judges Keith Kizer

As most know, referee “Big” John McCarthy has had his issues with the Nevada State Athletic Commission for years and more importantly, it’s Chief Executive Director Keith Kizer.

To that end, McCarthy has been critically outspoken to the point of getting himself (unofficially) blacklisted from officiating events in Nevada. The odious part of that is, of course, is that Big John is one of the best officiates in all of MMA and in an era where complaints about the quality and credentials of officials are rampant, banning McCarthy from refereeing fights in Vegas makes no sense.

It’s even more abhorrent when the man has publicly apologized for his remarks, yet still has not been able to retain a license; last applying in 2010.

As it turns out and in the wake of the Mayweather / Alvarez judging debacle, McCarthy appears to have had enough.

In an interview with the MMA Hour, Big John once again let loose on Kizer and in doing so, pulled no punches in his remarks and for all intents and purposes, called him a liar. At the core of his criticisms was one particular judge (C.J. Ross), her scoring of the Floyd Mayweather fight as a draw, and Kizer’s subsequent defense of that scoring.

As McCarthy stated:

“There comes a point where someone lies’ so much that you get tired of hearing (the) things that come out. The truth is Keith Kizer is a person that does not know combative sports. He’s never been part of them. He’s never done them. He puts people in there at times that maybe shouldn’t be put (in). You tell me why C.J. Ross said the Floyd Mayweather fight was a draw. Did you watch it? My god, I had it 11-1. It wasn’t even close. So if you’re doing that, you keep putting those same people back, you don’t care about the fighters. You don’t care about them as athletes. You don’t care about their livelihood, and you know what, you shouldn’t be in that job, and if someone doesn’t like what I said, too bad.”

However, McCarthy makes sure to draw the line at the commission itself, saying that he has nothing against them; however, they are too much under the (poorly informed) influence of Kizer and have acted as nothing more than a rubber stamp for his decisions. To this end, license or no license, McCarthy said he doesn’t want anything to do with “it” (the commission), while Kizer is running the show.

As Big John put it:

“They sit there and that person (Kizer) is the one that picks their referees, the one that picks their judges and they’ve had some problems. If he’s in charge, if he’s the executive director, I want nothing to do with it.”

McCarthy raised another interesting point and that’s the clash between the professional and the personal. Again, as we all know Big John is a competent referee, perhaps the best, yet, he’s been unable to get sanctioned in Nevada.

The only logical answer for that is that someone, maybe Keith Kizer, is preventing it. Other than a personal beef with the official, what could possibly give Kizer or any member of NSAC a reason to deny McCarthy a license? To most, it would seem like a logical jump in conclusions; that McCarthy is being banned from Nevada, because “someone” simply doesn’t like him.

As McCarthy stated:

“I think there comes a point where things become very personal for people and their reason for doing them is sometimes to say, ‘I have power. You don’t. Let me show you what I’ll do.’ That’s their choice. But in the end, usually it’ll catch up to them and I think maybe now it’s catching up to them.”

The “catching up” that McCarthy is referring to could well be NSAC Chairman, Bill Brady. As it turns out, Brady was so embarrassed by the recriminations emanating from the scoring of the Mayweather fight, that he felt it necessary reach out to Nevada’s governor (Brian Sandoval) and apologized for the embarrassment it had caused the state.

To that end, Commissioner Brady seems to have had enough and is letting it be known that the commission’s rubber stamp days are over and that there will be “serious questions” for Kizer in the future.

In synopsis, it seems that (this time) something might actually be done about the issue of bad judges and referees, or at least that’s feeling that Brady is leavingus with. Of course, the ironic thing for MMA fans is that it’s taken one bad judge and two bad score cards in boxing, to get it accomplished.

Will everything be perfect, now or Kizer lose his job? Probably not, but at least judge C.J. Ross has gone (stepped down due to the public outrage over her scoring) and that’s one less dubious judge that we all have to worry about, and that’s the type of step forward the commission is looking to make.



  1. Profile photo of HATEOCRACY


    September 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Give C.J. Ross a pass. She was probably bleed'n, couldnt think about ***, irritated by her kotex.

  2. Profile photo of Kevin


    September 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Always thought Big John was a class act. The only reason I would give Herb Dean the nod over Big J, is the fact that you don't get to watch John officiate as much, due to the Nevada Athletic Commission.

    Also gotta give props to Dan Miragliotta for his officiating in the Pat Barry vs Kongo fight.

    From when I was a kid, I was taught that in some cases judging is rigged in boxing, and it starts at the top, not the bottom. Dismissing judges should happen; however, at the rate of how often rigged events are happening, it's gotta be coming from places other then just judges.

    Judges are just like a President to me, a figure head for something bigger…a puppet with no control of its strings.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      September 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Kevin, you raise an interesting point. It's almost as if there's a third-party somewhere, that has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of bad judges.

      And I'm with you on regarding puppet leaders who have no control of the strings and merely act as a front for "something bigger". Happily, I think more are coming to the same conclusion.

      • Profile photo of movescamp


        September 24, 2013 at 7:50 am

        Almost as if there is a third party? Hello? Bookies? How much money do you think gets gambled on boxing? And mma? Bookies run the commission and have for many years. Starting with the mob. Follow the money.

        • Profile photo of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          September 25, 2013 at 12:45 am

          Moves, perhaps that's true, but I'd have to have that exampled to me regarding MMA and particularly proven that fights had been rigged or thrown in either the UFC or Bellator.

          Boxing has a storied history of these things, true, but I'm more suspect on the subject regarding MMA. More importantly, if White thought that was going on he'd be all over it.

          I agree with the practice of following the money, but I'd have to be shown a money trail to follow. As it stands, I'm unaware of one or any.

  3. Profile photo of enjoylife321


    September 24, 2013 at 12:33 am

    John McCarthy should be reffing however he only has himself to blame for speaking out against the commission. McCarthy forgot that despite his popularity the commission is always ten times more powerful

  4. Profile photo of watermelon fresh

    watermelon fresh

    September 24, 2013 at 12:49 am

    This is a excellent example of the government system and how corrupt it is, here's a guy that number one comes across as slimy, makes sure he gets plenty of face time of TUF and PPV events, which seems self serving. It seems that he does nothing about the incompetent refs and judges, and the fact that he's in a public trusted position and allows personal feelings blur the lines with his job is more disappointing, he's supposed to be above that, at least his title is supposed to be.

    You can only blame him so much, I really think most of people in the athletic commissions are ego driven, shady and of course self serving. I do think think it matters if you replace him, the next person will be just as bad. Hiring clueless people who have no business officiating or reffing. Or even worse yet, people that may involved In much worse things.

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