Referees get a lot of heat for making mistakes and becoming the center of a fight. In the Cain versus Dos Santos fight on Fox television 'Big John' McCarthy was perfectly invisible. However, it could have turned out far differently. If he stopped the fight a few seconds sooner the first major network broadcast of UFC is marred by controversy over an early stoppage. If he waited much longer the fight is marred by controversy of being a brutal, blood sport not suitable for prime time network television, where a defenseless man is beaten on the ground. Instead Big John was perfect in when and how he ended the fight.
Although Big John might have been invisible, his performance visibly imparted the image of a professional sport, with a clear, fair winner, where the competitor's safety was also first and foremost. Thanks to professional refereeing the worst adjectives hurled by MMA detractors simply could not be realistically applied to the UFC's network debut. MMA fans have every right to complain about poor refereeing and judging when it happens, but on one of the biggest nights for the sport the true hardcore fans should be shouting out a thanks to Big John for being invisible.
Despite a good fight, last night could have ended in disaster if the man keeping the violence controlled lost control and became the story. But he didn't, so he get's forgotten. At the very least he deserves a quick job well done from true fans for being invisible to new comers to MMA.