When the UFC travels across the united states – and further afield – the rules its athletes compete under can change depending on the rules of the athletic commission that is overseeing the fight. According to veteran referee Big John McCarthy, this is a real problem, and at the end of the day, an inconsistency that is simply not fair to the fighters.
McCarthy explained this feeling on a recent episode of MMA Junkie Radio, using the rules of the NFL for context.
“You look at the NFL – the NFL is a business where no matter if they go to New York or Wisconsin in Green Bay, they go down to Dallas or San Francisco, they are an organization that runs the officials, that runs the sport of football for professionals,” McCarthy said. “With that, they have rules committees that meet every year – they go about coming up with new rules they think are going to benefit the sport, the participants, try to make things better for the fans and knowing what should be done in a certain situation.
“The problem with MMA is, we have all of these athletic commissions, and each athletic commission is an entity unto itself,” he continued. “The athletic commission can do what it wants, and that’s the problem we have with MMA. It’s not fair to the fighters, it’s not fair to the officials, it’s not fair to the fans.”
“It’s a problem for fighters because fighters travel. The low-level fighters are fighting in their state, and they’ll fight multiple times in their state, so they get used to that rule set. But if you’re a top-level fighter and you do one show in California and it’s under the Unified Rules of MMA, and then you go to Missouri and they say, ‘Oh, we have a different set of rules,’ you just affected that fighter in a bad way. You should care about that, but that’s not what’s happening.”
What do you think of these comments from Big John McCarthy?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/1/2017.