Henry Cejudo needed just 32 seconds to defend his UFC flyweight title against UFC bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw at the recent UFC Brooklyn event on ESPN. Unfortunately for him, some members of the MMA community — Dillashaw and UFC President Dana White included — feel the referee intervened a little too early in this fight.
Speaking ahead of the Bellator 214 card, where he will serve as a cage-side commentator, veteran MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy gave his take on this controversial stoppage.
Interestingly, he seems to be on the side of TJ Dillashaw, admitting that he probably wouldn’t have stopped the fight quite as early as referee Kevin McDonald did.
He gave his take on the situation in an interview with MMA Fighting.
“When you say ‘good stoppage, bad stoppage,’ I’m not into saying what’s good or bad,” McCarthy said of the Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw stoppage. “Kevin made a decision. It’s his decision, he’s the one that’s got to live with his decision, along with TJ and the UFC themselves.
“If you’re going to ask me, there’s things that I want a referee to think about,” he continued. “If you’re going to ask me would I have stopped it at that point, no. I wouldn’t have stopped it at that point. This is the reason why: this is not a fight between two guys who are just brought together like ‘oh we’re going to match this fight up,’ whatever fight it is. It’s not, you know, Fighter A against Fighter B. This is a fight where both guys have earned the right to be in the position. They’ve both created a background that’s put them in the position of being champions, and now these are champions going after each other — one to save his entire weight class basically, the other to prove ‘those guys are not as good as me.’
“You look what happens. That fight is a young fight. It’s 25 seconds [in]. When Henry hits TJ with a shot, it hurts him, now doubt about it. It puts him down. When you’re a referee you’ve got to understand certain things. What you’ve got to understand is, I’ve got two guys who are champions. Not all fights are the same. You’re going hear a lot of referees go ‘you referee every fight the same,’ but I’m going to tell you, that’s a referee that has no clue what they’re doing.
“TJ, you see, reaching, he’s got the leg [after he was dropped]. He’s trying to collect himself and you’ve got to give him that opportunity, because again, he’s got a full tank of gas. He hasn’t received damage over a couple of rounds. It wasn’t like he was exhausted. Those are elements you factor in when you decide if you’re going to stop a fight or not.”
What do you think of John McCarthy’s take on the TJ Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo stoppage?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/25/2019.