Mixed martial arts referee "Big" John McCarthy was not selected to officiate at the upcoming UFC 104: "Machida vs. Shogun" event on Oct. 24 -- despite a call he made to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to inform them he was available, according to Sherdog.com.
McCarthy — perhaps the most recognized and respected referee in the history of the sport — retired from his in-ring duties following his 535th bout (the main event between Roger Huerta and Clay Guida) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 6 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 8, 2007.
"Big" John hung up the medical gloves to pursue a new career as an on-air personality and strategic adviser for The Fight Network, as well as a color commentator for the Affliction: "Banned" event in July 2008.
During his absence, the famed referee made comments in support of then-exiled star Randy Couture, as well as some criticism regarding the direction of UFC pay-per-views and its current officiating.
While the critique was small potatoes, it didn’t sit well with UFC President Dana White or Keith Kizer, Executive Director of the NSAC. Both sides remained diplomatic, but McCarthy has been unsuccessful in his attempt to get re-licensed in the state of Nevada after his Sept. 10 application was passed over.
The California native also reapplied in his home state and was re-licensed without incident, returning to action at Strikeforce: "Destruction" in November 2008.
Internet activists started a Twitter campaign to persuade the powers that be to enlist the services of McCarthy for UFC 104, however those efforts were in vain.
MMA fans will instead have to settle for his scheduled appearance at the upcoming Strikeforce show booked for Fresno on November 6.