Bellator announces John McCarthy’s move to the broadcasting booth (With Vallejos’ analysis)

Robert Vallejos, MMATORCH Contributor


Bellator MMA has announced that iconic MMA referee “Big” John McCarthy will be joining the broadcast booth; effectively ending his officiating career.

In what could signify the end of an era, Bellator MMA has announced that the most iconic official in MMA history will be joining the broadcast booth.

Bellator announced via press release that “Big” John McCarthy will be providing color commentary for promotion, beginning at Bellator 192 on Jan. 20.

While the move theoretically ends the officiating career of McCarthy, he is not completing stepping away from refereeing.

McCarthy indicated to that he would continue to referee on a small-scale basis. In the same report McCarthy also expressed a desire to continue to train MMA officials.

John McCarthy has been a fixture in MMA since UFC 2, in March of 2011. McCarthy is credited with creating many of the modern rules and regulations of MMA.

The move by McCarthy to the commentating booth comes shortly after Bellator parted ways with longtime announcer Jimmy Smith.

In same press release, Bellator also announced that Chael Sonnen has agreed to an extension to remain a part of select Bellator broadcasts.

The announcing shakeup comes during a transition period within the promotion. On Jan. 18, Bellator’s parent company Viacom will rebrand Spike TV as The Paramount Network. Bellator has aired on Spike TV since 2013.

Vallejos’ Analysis: While “Big” John will be missed in the cage; this is a shrewd move by Bellator. If McCarthy can adapt to the broadcast booth, he could become the preeminent color commentator in MMA. No current broadcaster can claim to have been in a cage since the SEG era of the UFC. Additionally, McCarthy can provide clarity to the often-confusing rules of MMA.  

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