UFC 165 saw Jon Jones come as close as he had ever been to losing his light heavyweight title. Retired referee John McCarthy believes that if anybody else had been the third man in the Octagon that night, things would have ended very differently.
Jones was nearly pushed to his limits in his fight with Alexander Gustafsson, back in 2013. It was by far the most challenging fight he had to that point, and arguably his hardest since then. He was required to dig deep and come back after losing rounds and getting cut and battered, in order to earn his unanimous decision.
John McCarthy Says Things Could Have Gone Very Differently
The referee for that contest was none other than veteran John McCarthy, who was overseeing the fight. This would be one of the last times Big John would referee a fight for Jones, who would later say that he does not like the now-former official. Speaking on his podcast recently, Big John does not understand where this dislike came from. In fact, he says that Jon Jones owes that victory at UFC 165 to him for not calling the fight.
“Jon Jones thinks I hate him,” John McCarthy said. “He actually at one point, before the Daniel Cormier fight I think, but he came out in the media and said he didn’t want me doing his fight. It was because of the fight that he had with Vitor Belfort in Toronto, Canada, where you know, there was a kick thrown and stuff. But it’s ok that Jon feels like ‘Oh you know, he doesn’t like me.’ Is it that I didn’t like Jon? No! I really did like Jon Jones. And I’ll be flat out honest. Jon would have lost his world title if I wasn’t doing his fight at UFC 165, when he fought Alexander Gustafsson. There’s not another referee that would have told the doctor ‘No I’m not stopping the fight’ and let him go out for the fifth round, and let that fight continue. Because referees are not going to put their career on the line for a fighter. They’re going to say ‘you want it stopped?’ and (they’re going to wave their hands), and the fight’s going to be over. Alexander Gustafsson is going to be the winner.”
“When Jon Jones fought Alexander Gustafsson he got hit with a, I think it was a right hand but it was on the right eye, in the first round and split his eye open,” McCarthy continued. “And he went through the fight, second round, third round, and the cut got a little bit worse at the end of the third round. At the end of the fourth round the doctor came in and looked at me and he says ‘you know what I don’t like the way his eye’s looking, I think we should stop the fight’. And I looked at it, and Jon had just won the fourth round. You know, came back because Alexander was winning it, Jon came back and won and almost finished Alexander in that fourth round. He was the champion and he had been fighting with the eye the way that it was for the entire fight, and never was he dabbing at it or anything. So I looked at him and I said ‘He just won that last round I don’t think we need to stop this fight’. He goes ‘I don’t like it’. So I said ‘I tell you what, we’re going to let the fight go on and if I see that cut change at all, I’ll stop the fight and bring you in’. Right. So he said ok and he goes out. To myself, I am thinking ‘I am never stopping this fight.’ Ok, because I’m not going to take someone’s title based on a cut that…I know what bad cuts are and that wasn’t.
“I’m not saying I am smarter than the doctor but when it comes to injuries in fights I am smarter than the doctor. Especially when it comes to cuts. I know what’s a bad cut, I know what’s not, and that fight should have never been stopped for that cut, at that time. So that’s how much I hated Jon Jones. I basically put my butt on the line because it was the right thing to do.”
Do you think that Big John McCarthy us the reason Jon Jones did not lose his fight with Alexander Gustafsson?