Ref McCarthy on Kimbo Slice-Dada 5000 bout: “This is not just about you laying on somebody because you’re both tired”

Friday’s Bellator 149 bout between Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000 was by far the most watched fight in Bellator MMA history, and was the most watched cable fight of 2016 thus far. It was also one of the single worst “fights” in MMA history, a laughable at best display of big-man exhaustion, and the man in the middle of it – referee “Big John” McCarthy – had some choice words about the fight after the event.

“I honestly thought it would be over within the first round,” McCarthy said in an interview with “And you know, when we got to the end of the first round, I thought, ‘Oh my God, this thing’s going to go all three rounds.’

“… There was never anything that landed that was hard. They didn’t hit each other with any hard shots. … Look, there are people that paid money to see this fight. This is not just about you laying on somebody because you’re both tired. That’s your fault for coming into the fight in that condition.”

McCarthy, one of the longest tenured referees in the sport, made the rare move to stand a fight up from mount during the fight – something he’d only ever done once – but as he explained, it was a necessity.

“I always tell them, ‘I’m going to stand you up unless you do something,'” McCarthy said. “I’m telling Kimbo, ‘Kimbo, do something.’ And he’s just tired. He’s not trying to punch, he’s not trying to go for a submission, he’s just trying to catch breath and let time go by.”

Penick’s Analysis: Obviously the fight itself was secondary to what Bellator was selling, and they got the viewership they were hoping for. Still, what actually happened in the cage was embarrassing, and even worse than most expected it to wind up being. McCarthy was visibly frustrated even being in there with them on Friday night, so this commentary after the fact isn’t at all surprising.

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