Fans were not exactly thrilled when the UFC announced that Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane would be fighting for the interim heavyweight title. Former ref and current commentator “Big” John McCarthy agrees, and says that the UFC is making a mistake.
McCarthy has been the third man in the Octagon for countless bouts over the years, but has since moved on to a roll in commentary for Bellator. He also hosts a podcast where he and Josh Thompson break down the biggest stories in mixed martial arts.
However it was in a recent interview that Big John was asked about the UFC 265 main event between Lewis and Gane, for the interim title. He made it clear that he did not agree with the interim title decision, given that heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou will not be out for a long time.
“I have no problem with an interim title when you have a champion that’s out, you have a champion who is hurt and can’t compete. You don’t want that division put on hold,” McCarthy said.
“This is the one time where I’m going to look and say I think the UFC is wrong. Most of the time I think they’re right with their interim titles, but this one makes no sense, because it doesn’t matter who wins this fight, be it Ciryl Gane or be it Derrick Lewis.
“They’re both very good fighters, and I really enjoy watching both of them. I’m not going to consider them a heavyweight champion. There’s a guy named Francis Ngannou that’s sitting there, and he’s waiting, and he’s got the real belt. It doesn’t matter what happens in this fight,” McCarthy continued.
“You can take Francis Ngannou and not even have Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane, and put Jon Jones, and if Jon Jones wins, Jon Jones is going to be the heavyweight champion. It doesn’t matter who wins this fight, and that’s why it doesn’t make sense for me. As an interim championship, there was no need for it.”
John McCarthy Is Right
A lot of times, the criticisms that John McCarthy has about the UFC seem a little off, but this one is right on the money. Take away the fact that Derrick Lewis was already slated to fight Francis Ngannou, and you still have the point that Francis was literally wanting just a few more weeks than the UFC’s timeline.
On top of that, Francis only just fought in March, when the prior champ Stipe Miocic would regularly take one fight a year and no interim champ would be named. The only net positive about this whole thing, is that whoever wins between Lewis and Gane will get PPV points and more money when they do face Ngannou.
What do you make of this assessment from Big John McCarthy? Do you think the interim title is unnecessary for this fight?