Tank Abbott Blames ‘Crooked’ Ex-Referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy for Getting Him Kicked Out of the UFC

Abbott had plenty to say about MMA's most iconic referee during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience

Tank Abbott
Courtesy of @UFC on X

UFC legend David ‘Tank’ Abbott blames ex-referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy for getting him kicked out of the promotion.

Before the UFC became the global mixed martial arts juggernaut that it is today, the Octagon was considered the Wild West of combat sports with Abbott playing one of its most ferocious outlaws. Making his debut at UFC 6 in 1995, ‘Tank’ was best known for his barroom-style brawling that delivered some of the most brutal knockouts of all time. 

But as the sport began to evolve, Abbott found out quickly that his outdated style of fighting was easily outmatched by an influx of wrestlers and BJJ practitioners. 

On a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Abbott and the long-time UFC commentator were looking back at his UFC 6 tournament final match against Oleg Taktarov. Throughout much of the contest, ‘Tank’ had top position, but after a lull in action, McCarthy stood both fighters up—a decision that ultimately led to Abbott losing the bout via a rear-naked choke. 

“I would have won that fight if Big John McCarthy wouldn’t have stuck his melon in between us and break us up,” Abbott said “You know, that’s how you were talking about how they fix the fights and everything. He broke this fight up, there were no rules, look, he’s breaking us up, why’d he do that”

Abbott added, “He’s corrupt and he’s a crook. His idea of what he thinks fighting is and he’s a full-on ‘Ole O’ submission guy coz he’s all into technique. I don’t know this, he’s never said it to me, but he’s all into skill and everything else. He has no respect for fighter’s fortitude or anything like that.”

‘Tank’ Abbott Claims John McCarthy and His Wife Got Him Kicked Out of the UFC

Joe Rogan did attempt to defend McCarthy’s honor, but that only prompted the 59-year-old icon to tear into the former referee a bit more. 

“Well you might like him, but uh, he leveraged his made-up persona of ‘Big John’ to get me kicked out of the show,” Abbott claimed. “Him and his wife, they got me kicked out of the show… Yeah, very early… Because he does not like me, he’s a cop and he doesn’t like the fact that I’m probably, in his eyes, a thug. But the point is, he has a bee in his bonnet and he’s never liked me.”

Perhaps we’ll get to hear John McCarthy’s rebuttal on the next episode of his Weighing In podcast. 

Watch the full segment below:

Published on June 7, 2024 at 3:27 pm
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