"Big" John McCarthy Criticizes UFC's Reaction to Jason High's Shoving Incident

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2014

Referee John McCarthy during a UFC bantamweight mixed martial arts fight in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

If anyone's qualified to weigh in on the UFC's decision to cut Jason High after shoving referee Kevin Mulhall at UFC Fight Night 42, it's go-to ref and MMA pioneer "Big" John McCarthy.

McCarthy, the UFC's longest tenured ref who has presided over thousands of fights, began his career at UFC 2 in 1994, and has since dealt with virtually ever form of misconduct inside the Octagon.

McCarthy talked frankly with Submission Radio about the company's decision to part ways with High after he pushed Mulhall following what many perceived as an early-stoppage loss to Raphael dos Anjos.

Absolutely there has to be varying degrees of punishment, but it has to be a punishment that is, you know, it evenly matches the crime, and the crime was pretty minimal. Jason put his hands on Kevin and kinda pushed him away. It was wrong. To be taken out of the UFC—I understand what Dana White is doing, [but] now the question is, if Jon Jones would have done the same thing, would he [White] have kicked Jon Jones out of the UFC? He wouldn't have.

On top of trivializing High's actions and disagreeing with the UFC for its choice to let the former NCAA Division 1 wrestler go, McCarthy also criticized the New Mexico State Athletic Commission's decision to suspend him for a year.

Sometimes we as human beings, we do things off of emotion that we normally wouldn't do. Do I think he should have been punished? Yes. He should have had his hand slapped, he should have gotten, you know a five month suspension, he should have been fined, we'll say twenty-five hundred, five thousand dollars. That's gonna hurt him, he's gonna feel it, but I think that overall Jason got treated very harshly for what happened.

Jun 7, 2014; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Rafael Dos Anjos (red) and Jason High (blue) fight during their lightweight bout during UFC Fight Night 42 at Tingley Coliseum. Dos Anjos won via second round stoppage. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

High certainly paid a steeper price than just getting a pink slip from the UFC. In the end, the hulking lightweight received a one-year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission and a $1,900 fine.

The night after his loss at UFC Fight Night 42, High offered an apology for the spur-of-the-moment act of aggression via Twitter.

— Marcelino Evil (@KCBanditMMA) June 8, 2014

Despite McCarthy's criticism, and the fact that High seems remorseful, "The Kansas City Bandit" will likely suffer the same fate with the UFC as Paul Daley for his sucker-punch of Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.

Daley won his first two fights in the UFC via impressive TKO/KO before dropping a unanimous decision to Koscheck in May 2010. Seconds after the final buzzer sounded, Daley cracked an off-guard Koscheck, causing referee Dan Miragliotta to physically intervene.

In two stints with the UFC, High compiled a 2-3 mark. High holds five wins under the Zuffa umbrella.