Big John McCarthy was born on October 12, 1962. He is considered the pre-eminent referee throughout the world for mixed martial arts (MMA), beginning with his involvement at UFC 2 over 23 years ago, and is a much sought-after figure when it comes to historical knowledge of the sport of MMA.

It is unlikely that anyone has been more prepared or destined to become an MMA referee than John McCarthy. McCarthy has been a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department since 1985. As a student of the legendary Rorion Gracie, he has also experienced the rigorous training associated with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Having excelled at both, it was inevitable that he became an instructor.

John McCarthy was awarded his Tactic/Self Defense Instructor Certification by the LAPD on August 12, 1993, and taught for the department.

John McCarthy is the leading authority on mixed martial arts officiating worldwide. He began refereeing on March 11, 1994 at UFC 2 and has never looked back. Standing 6’4″ and weighing 240 pounds, McCarthy and his famous fight opener “Let’s Get It On” has become instantly recognizable to MMA fans worldwide. He is the paradigm by which all other referees are measured.

McCarthy has provided seminars of instruction and question and answer sessions for multiple athletic commissions across the Country in addition to The American Boxing Council (ABC) and the International Professional Ring Official (IPRO).

In September 2006, Brazilian jiu-jitsu Black Belt McCarthy opened Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy (BJMUTA), the first fully functional MMA school in Valencia, California.

In May 2007, McCarthy joined The Fight Network as a mixed martial arts analyst across its various distribution platforms.

John McCarthy currently owns and operates C.O.M.M.A.N.D., an Internationally recognized Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Referee and Judge training school.

John McCarthy’s Credits Include:

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

  • Refereed thousands of bouts worldwide, including hundreds of Bellator and UFC bouts.
  • Refereed for a diverse number of organizations globally including K-1 (Japan), Strikeforce, Affliction, Bellator, King of the Cage, RIZIN and a multitude of others.
  • Over the past 20 years, has been a licensed Referee in 21 States in addition to numerous Canadian Provinces and Countries throughout the world.
  • Key figure in the writing of the Unified Rules for the sport of MMA, which is recognized by the ABC and Athletic Commissions across North America
  • Certified MMA Referee & Judging Instructor for the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC)
  • Conducted the first ever MMA Referee and Judges Instructional Training Seminar for the ABC at their July 2008 Annual Conference and has continued teaching at these conferences on multiple occasion’s over the years.
  • Creator and Head Instructor of COMMAND -Certification of Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development, an Internationally recognized (and ABC accredited) MMA Referee and Judging Training School.
  • Conducts COMMAND Referee and Judging courses for regulatory bodies and Commissions worldwide.


  • Licensed Referee and Judge under CSAC, and licensed Judge with NSAC.
  • Attended the ABC’s Boxing Referee and Judging Courses on multiple occasions throughout the years.
  • Refereed and Judged numerous amateur and professional boxing matches
  • Refereed a WBC NABF World Championship


  • Awarded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt in 2006
  • Opened Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy, a 26,000 sq ft state of the art MMA training facility in 2006
  • Inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame in 2006 for “Outstanding Achievements in the Martial Arts”
  • First-ever recipient of the 2008 World MMA Awards “Lifetime Achievement” accolade, voted on by the sport’s most prestigious journalists
  • Awarded 2007 commendation by Senator James Battin for “CareerAccomplishments” in MMA, “for the work done to increase the safety, visibility, and importance of Mixed Martial Arts”
  • Awarded 2007 proclamation by the California State Athletic Commission for “dedication and commitment to other officials in helping developing their skills and concern for athletes”
  • Awarded “Best Referee” 2016 World MMA Awards
C.O.M.M.A.N.D. on the Martial Arts Schools and Businesses Directory.
C.O.M.M.A.N.D. on the Martial Arts Schools and Businesses Directory.

For more information about Big John McCarthy and C.O.M.M.A.N.D. visit their website at and their listing on the Martial Arts Schools and Businesses Directory by clicking on the image on the left.