In a mailed letter from Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, McCarthy, who submitted his application Sept. 10, was informed that the state "[does] not anticipate adding any additional referees at this time. We will place your application in the pending file in case the situation changes."
"I don’t look at it like that. A license to referee or judge with an athletic commission -- it’s not a right," he said. "It’s a privilege. Everyone kept bringing up the fact that I wasn’t licensed in Nevada, so I said, ‘Alright, I’ll apply.’"
As to the whys and wherefores of refusing to re-license McCarthy, Kizer denied that it had anything to do with critical comments that McCarthy has made about the quality of refereeing in Nevada:
Asked if McCarthy’s past comments or a perceived animosity felt for McCarthy by the UFC over his Affliction gig may have played a role in his application for a Nevada license being placed in the "pending" file, both Kizer and McCarthy declined comment.
Kizer said the NSAC currently has six referees licensed to work MMA fights, with a current "pending" list of 20-30 applicants vying for an opening in one of those existing slots, most of which will never work in Nevada due to the high qualifications demanded and extreme rarity of an opening. The short list is exactly that, he adds, so qualified referees get enough work to stay sharp.
Obviously the commissioner of the NSAC is well within his rights to deny McCarthy's license, but as a fan who is painfully painfully aware of the desperate shortage of top quality referees in MMA it pains me to see the best and most experienced referee in the game locked out of the biggest state in MMA.
This has everything to do with politics and punishing McCarthy for speaking truth to power at the expense of what's best for the sport.
If a fighter is grievously injured during a high-profile bout in Nevada due to sub-par refereeing, I hope that Mr. Kizer is ready to defend his actions and decision making.
Dana White is also washing his hands of it, because of course the head of the biggest MMA promotion in the world has no say or influence with the NSAC.