If it wasn’t for referee John McCarthy reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones may have an official loss on his MMA record, aside from that disqualification he sustained back in 2009.
While Jones and McCarthy have butted heads in the past, the legendary referee remains adamant that he came to Jones’ rescue during the champ’s infamous title fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. That fight remains one of the toughest in Jones’ career and one that he arguably could have lost on the scorecards. But it was actually McCarthy’s efforts during the fight that prolonged the match and allowed Jones to come out on top after a hard-fought fifth round.
“Let’s talk about it this way, Jon Jones thinks I hate him,” McCarthy explained during a recent episode of the Weighing in Podcast with Josh Thomson. “He actually at one point you know he wanted to, it was before the Daniel Cormier fight I think, but he came out in the media and said he didn’t want me doing his fight. And it was because of the fight that he had with Vitor Belfort in Toronto, Canada. Where you know, there was kick thrown and stuff. But it’s ok that Jon feels like ok 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 is not another referee that would have told the doctor ‘No I am 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. So there going to say ‘you want it stopped?’ and then do this with there hands (motioning to stop the contest) and the fight is going to be over. Alexander Gustafsson is going to be the winner.”
Jones, who seemed unbeatable entering that title fight back in 2013, ended up decisively beating Gustafsson in a rematch at UFC 232 five years later. It was proof that Jones is in fact the better fighter at 205 pounds, but it didn’t do much to cancel out the legendary action from the first fight.
“When Jon Jones fought Alexander Gustafsson he got hit with a, I think it was a right hand that was on the right eye, in the first round and split his eye open. And he went through the fight, second round, third round, and then the cut got a little bit worse at the end of the third round,” explained McCarthy in more detail.
“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 is 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 but then 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 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 (Jon Jones) goes out and I am thinking to myself I am never stopping this fight. Ok, because I am not going to take someone’s title based on a cut that.. you know, I know what bad cuts are and that wasn’t… I am 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. So that’s how much I hated Jon Jones.”
Jones, 32, still has not been defeated inside of the Octagon, although he did have close encounters opposite Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos in his last two title defenses. Despite his continued reign of excellence Jones is currently wrapped up in a financial stranglehold with the promotion, in which the champ is willing to sit out “three years” to get the money he wants.
What say you, Maniacs? Did McCarthy save Jones from losing his belt at UFC 165?
Let’s hear it!