18 Questions for John McCarthy

Whether He Criticized Kizer

By TJ De Santis Mar 19, 2009
Photo Courtesy: NSAC

Keith Kizer heads the NSAC.
Sherdog: And what about criticizing Keith Kizer?
McCarthy: I never said anything bad about Keith Kizer. I personally don't have any kind of issue with Keith Kizer at all. He is the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It is probably the most powerful athletic commission because of the Vegas area and the huge world championship fights that happen there. They may not do as many fights as some other commissions, but when it comes to the biggest fights, they're usually in Vegas.

I had a criticism toward people being put into place as far as officiating. You listen to what Dana White was talking about the other night. His real problem now is judging and reffing in MMA. We're looking at things the same way. I have a problem when you have an official who is put into place to have an impact on the sport I love when they don't understand the sport, when they don't understand what the fighters are doing. They understand someone getting hit in the face. They don't understand the manipulations of the ground game and who is winning the fight. I probably should've shut my mouth because I've got a big mouth, and it's got me in a lot of trouble, but it's the truth. I want everyone to understand what is really happening in the sport so they can make educated decisions and judgments.

Sherdog: Did you get a chance to watch UFC 95? If so, what did you think of some of the stoppages that drew criticism from fans?
McCarthy: I understand the stoppages. Types of knockdowns are different. When you have a guy that gets hit with a shot and he goes falling backwards, that’s the norm from a guy who can get hit with a very good shot and is out, or even gets hit with a shot and is off balance. But it’s the way they react that is going to tell you if you’re going to stop the fight or not. When you get someone that gets hit with a shot and goes either sideways or falls flat face-forward, that’s information you’re relying on to make a decision on what you’re going to do.

Josh Koscheck got hit with the uppercut, and it put him out. No matter what anyone wants to say, Koscheck was out. When he hit the ground, he came back. And I’ve had the exact same thing happen with high-level fighters at times. They get hit with a shot, they go out, they hit the ground and they pop back. You, as a referee, have got to put yourself in a position to be where you need to be to see some things. Sometimes you’re going to see some things that other people don’t.

If you watch that fight, Marc Goddard was the referee, and he was at an angle where he was actually behind [Paulo] Thiago as he hit Koscheck. He made up his mind to stop the fight from that distance, and he is rushing in. Well, the problem was, when Koscheck falls to the ground, he does come back.

In the space of time that it took [Goddard] to get from where he was to in between the two fighters, Koscheck had hit the ground and popped back. Thiago really didn’t go right after him to try and blast him again. He kind of stood over him a second and was kind of raising his hand as the fight was stopped. But Koscheck was at least putting his feet in the proper position, putting his hand out, which is telling you there is no doubt about it that he is hurt. But you’ve got to give a guy at his level the opportunity to try and get himself back in the fight. Because fighters have gotten back in the fight from that. Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. It’s very likely that the fight could end in the next couple of seconds with Josh being knocked out. And you don’t want to see the fighter get knocked out. So I understand why it was stopped. But could he have been given more time? Sure. But it is the referee’s decision, and when he says he cannot protect himself at that time, then it’s the referee’s job to stop the fight. That is what Goddard said and that’s what he did.
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