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Croatian Boxer Knocks Out Referee, Is Dragged Out of the Ring by His Feet [UPDATED]

(Angle 1, via joebiemel)

(Angle 2, with funky groove, via sportsviewlondon)

Things got a little out of hand yesterday at the European Youth Boxing Championship in Zagreb, Croatia, when a disgruntled Croat boxer named Vido Loncar went superheel and punched out a referee following his match against Algirdas Baniulis of Lithuania. (See also: Yvel, Gilbert.) After dropping the ref with a savage right straight, Loncor continued to fire down shots from above. Meanwhile, Baniulis scampers out of the ring like a frightened cat. Eventually, about a dozen guys bum-rush the ring, and Loncor is dragged out by his heels. The ending of Nightmare on Elm Street comes to mind. Crazy.

UPDATE via Sherdog: “Vido Locar, the Croatian boxer who viciously attacked a referee following the stoppage of his bout, is currently in jail and has been banned from the sport of boxing for life.”


Quote of the Day: Josh Rosenthal Was “Slow on the Trigger” During Munoz/Weidman

(A replay of the Munoz/Weidman ending in all its gory glory for those of you who missed it.) 

Right before he kinda sorta announced his pending retirement from the sport during the UFC on FOUEL TV post-fight show, Stephan Bonnar made the audacious claim that referee Josh Rosenthal should be fined and/or suspended for his late stoppage during the Mark Munoz/Chris Weidman fight. After Weidman landed some 12 or 13 unanswered shots on a helpless Munoz, I briefly thought that we were witnessing the first death in the promotion’s history, and my immediate reaction was almost that of agreement. Almost. 

Because, although it is hard to deny that Rosenthal dropped the ball Wednesday night, the stoppage was likely considered even worse because it was a revered official like Rosenthal who made it. This wasn’t Steve Mazzagati calling an eye poke a TKO or Kim Winslow letting Jan Finney return from the dead only to be killed once more. This was Josh freakin’ Rosenthal, a man who had not only made our top five referees list a couple years ago, but had easily climbed up it a few spots in the time since. This was a man who had, as GritandMettle’s Darren Jensen put it, “reffed Shogun vs Hendo perfectly” — the same goes for his excellent job in the first round of Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin’s UFC 116 heavyweight title fight. What we’re saying is, this isn’t an everyday occurrence for the guy. Hell, can anyone even remember an instance in recent memory that Rosenthal has even come close to screwing up (Faber/Mizugaki maybe)?

In retrospect, Bonnar’s assessment was a little harsh, but Rosenthal was still willing to admit that he shit the bed, so to speak, when he appeared on SiriusXM’s “Tapout Radio Show”.

Check out a few snippets from the interview after the jump.


Exclusive: UFC 143 Main Event Referee Steve Mazzagatti Talks Bitch Slaps, Sh*t Talking and Dana White Hate

By Elias Cepeda

(‘The Mazz’ making sure things don’t get started before the bell Saturday night.)

With all the talk of how the judges scored last weekend’s UFC 143 main event between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, CagePotato thought it would be interesting to shift the focus and speak with the man charged with mediating the fight – referee Steve Mazzagatti. In this exclusive conversation, the veteran top ref and occasional owner of one of the best mustaches in all of MMA, talks about Dana White’s hate for him, bitch slaps, shit talking and much more.


Reminder: ‘Big’ John McCarthy’s Book Comes Out On Thursday and You Should Buy It

(Video Courtesy of Patrick Kennedy)

Whether you’re interested in some fascinating firsthand accounts of the behind the scenes goings on in the early days of the UFC and the origins of some of MMA’s rules and regulations or you simply want to get to know one of the most important MMA figureheads the sport has ever known, you need to pick up a copy of “Big” John McCarthy’s “Let’s Get It On! The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee.”

The biographical account of McCarthy’s life as a son, brother, father, husband, police officer, coach and referee was co-written by acclaimed MMA reporter and the author of Randy Couture’s book, “Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage,” Loretta Hunt,  and has been lauded by several members of the MMA media as one of 2012′s must-read books for fans of the sport.

Loretta will be our special guest on this week’s episode of The Bum Rush Radio Show on Friday to talk about the book and we’ll have a review of the tome on the site next week.


Video: ‘Big’ John McCarthy Talks Relationship with the Gracies, the LA Riots and His UFC Reffing Debut

(Video courtesy YouTube/Fight!Mag)

I’ve always been amazed with the fact that "Big" John McCarthy is as, or more famous than a lot of MMA fighters. Think about it. How many football referees or baseball umpires can you name, let alone who you would want an autograph from?

I worked with BJM at The Fight Network a few years ago and no matter if he was at an event doing color commentary or just hanging out at the station, he would get requests non-stop for photos and autographs. It’s crazy to think that besides guys like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, Big John is more recognized than a lot of marquee fighters for his involvement in the sport and his regulation of landmark bouts over the years.

He has his own gym, MMA refereeing and judging certification course, his own Xtreme Couture signature shirt and will be releasing an autobiography, "Let’s Get it On!" which he has spent the last few years writing with MMA journalist Loretta Hunt, who also wrote Randy Couture’s "Becoming the Natural.".

The videos above and after the jump shot by Fight! Magazine give some insight into the stories that will be shared in the book and if they are any indication, the tome will be well worth picking up.

In the clips he talks a bit about his time with the LAPD, the origin of his fight-starting catchphrase and the fateful favor he did for his then-jiu-jitsu teacher, Rorian Gracie that would lead to his career as one of the most respected and recognizable officials to ever call a fight.


Exclusive: Big John McCarthy Talks MMA Evolution, Stand-Ups, + More

Big John McCarthy

This week Sports Illustrated Online is looking at refereeing issues in mixed martial arts (you can read my defense of MMA’s refs here), and I got an opportunity to talk with “Big” John McCarthy about his thoughts on the state of officiating in our sport.  We also talked a little about the evolution of rules in the UFC, and the difference between rules that came about out of practical concerns and those that were changed to appease political opponents.

While I expected McCarthy to know more about refereeing MMA bouts than anyone else alive, I didn’t expect him to have such an encyclopedic knowledge of the sport.  The guy can rattle off the names of the fighters in almost every bout he’s ever worked from UFC 2 onward.  He also had a few great insights about the nature of the sport and what it demands from referees.  Here are some select excerpts from our conversation, just for you guys:

So tell me, when you went in to work your first bout at UFC 2, what guidelines were you given?

BJM: (laughs) The guidelines I was given were, ‘Don’t stop the fights.  The fighters will tap out or the corners will throw the towel in.  That’s how the fights will stop.’  That’s honestly how I got my job, because the very first UFC fight ever, Joao Barreto was the referee.  Teila Tuli was down and got kicked by Gerard Gordeau, and Joao stopped the fight and Rorian Gracie was upset because that wasn’t how it was supposed to be.


Pete Sell Is Okay; Yves Lavigne Admits to Screwing Up

The one person in the MMA world not criticizing Yves Lavigne for his refereeing decisions in UFC 96’s Matt Brown/Pete Sell bout is Pete Sell.  And that makes sense.  Just like Josh Koscheck asked all refs everywhere to let him get beaten into unconsciousness before stopping his fights, Sell also wants the opportunity to try and get back in the fight, even when it’s a really bad idea:

"I want always to be given the chance to fight back, not matter what," Sell said Tuesday. "I thought he did good with that. … I want any referee that judges the fight to always give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m always willing to fight."

But willingness to fight isn’t so much the issue.  It’s whether he’s capable of fighting intelligently, or whether he’s so dazed that he’s taking needless punishment.  The referee is there to make that decision because we don’t trust individual fighters – guys like Sell, whose tremendous heart could get him seriously hurt in such a situation – to make that decision for him.  

Lavigne failed in that task, and he knows it:


The Potato Index: UFC 96 Aftermath

(You look sleepy, Gabe.  Maybe time to grab a quick nap?  Photo courtesy of

Who’s up and who’s down?  The Potato Index is here to tell you with our post-event wrap-up of arbitrary numerical rankings. 

“Rampage” Jackson +121

He won a fight he was supposed to win, even if it took him 2 2/3 rounds longer than many thought it would.  Jackson said he needed the work, and he looked good from start to finish.  But will he still be glad he went through rounds when he has to get back in the gym and prepare for Rashad Evans in two weeks?

Keith Jardine -15

“The Dean of Mean” fought hard and, if nothing else, proved his chin isn’t so suspect after all.  The guy has a lot of heart and he’ll fight anyone (except his Jackson camp buddies).  There’s always a place in the UFC for someone like that.

Shane Carwin +154

Didn’t we tell you this guy was a beast?  Gonzaga broke his nose in the opening seconds and it barely slowed Carwin down.  The knockout blow didn’t even seem like it had all his power behind it, but it didn’t matter.  Another first-round KO, and this time against a notable opponent.  This guy is headed for big things.


“Big” John McCarthy Hints at History of Greasing Problems

(Say what you will about Big John, he could rock the black track pants and latex gloves with the best of them.)

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at various cheating methods in combat sports today, from the illegal substance in Antonio Margarito’s glove to the Vaseline on Georges St. Pierre’s body.  The message here is that cheating, or “gamesmanship,” as Bert Sugar charitably tags it, is nothing new.  

But of interest to MMA fans are remarks from former UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, which suggest that greasing problems have persisted for some time now, and that it’s no big secret, either:

"Guys will push the envelope in every way possible," former UFC referee "Big" John McCarthy said of mixed martial arts fighters. "Vaseline has always been an issue in MMA. It’s a real problem."
McCarthy has seen MMA fighters come into the octagon after taking a bath filled with soapy water or even baby oil. "You can’t notice it when they’re dry, but when they get on the ground and start to sweat, it starts to come out of their pores," McCarthy said.

‘Big’ John McCarthy Returns to the Cage — But Not for the UFC

Big John McCarthy UFC MMA referee
(Photo courtesy of The Fight Network.)

Strikeforce‘s upcoming “Destruction” card will feature such well-known fighters as Josh Thomson, Yves Edwards, Renato Sobral, Joe Riggs, and Kim Couture, but the biggest star will surely be the third man in the cage. Sherdog reports that beloved MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy is returning to what he does best after a year-long hiatus that saw him retire from the UFC, take an analyst spot at The Fight Network, then leave it when things went FUBAR — and his first stop will be San Jose’s HP Pavilion on November 21st. The last match McCarthy reffed was the main event bout between Roger Huerta and Clay Guida at the TUF 6 finale last December; it was his 535th since his debut at UFC 2 in March 1994. As he told Sherdog:

“I missed doing it. Sometimes when you walk away from something and you think it’s time, once you’re away you realize what you’re missing — it’s kind of like why guys come back to fighting. It’s what I like doing. It’s what I was meant to do.”

Though he didn’t rule out an eventual return to the Octagon, it’s clear that his days as the UFC’s mascot are pretty much over. On where he might be reffing after “Destruction,” he said: