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Big John McCarthy shares thoughts on stand ups in recent UFC bouts

In an appearance on The MMA Hour, legendary UFC ref Big John McCarthy shared his thoughts on when to stand up fighters.

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

"Big" John McCarthy was the third man in the Octagon starting at UFC 2 and continuing for many many years until he walked away to try his hand at commentating. That didn't work out and he's back reffing, although not in Nevada.

McCarthy was on the MMA Hour on Monday and shared his thoughts on stand ups (transcribed by MMA Fighting):

"I will [only] stand a fight up when it's close to an even position," McCarthy said. "If you're in guard, or even half guard, and the action has stalled to the point, and I give you warnings [that] I need you to get busy and nothing really changes, you've shown me that you can't do anything, I'm going to stop you. I'm going to restart you. But if you get to dominant positions, be it side control, mount, back, the only way in the world that I would ever stand somebody up out of that, and I've done it once -- I tell this story, it's Jeremy Horn -- is if you go and clamp down and you're the one stalling the fight because you're not doing anything.

"You'll get fighters that'll sit there and they'll want you to stand them up, and you go, ‘There's no way in the world I'm standing you up.' Don't look to me to get you out of your problem. Get yourself out.

"If we start to take people out of those positions that are dominant, then we start to become unfair to the fight," McCarthy finished. "We give an advantage to one fighter over the other, and that's not our responsibility. That's not our job. We're doing something that's completely opposite of what we should be doing.

"You've got to have some compassion about how hard it is to do some of the things these [fighters] are trying to do, and doing it against a guy who knows what you're trying to do," McCarthy explained. "When you get guys in these mad scrambles and they'll finally end up in a position on the ground, and you'll see a referee come in and five second later [say], ‘Come one. Work.' It's like, ‘Jesus Christ, don't you think they just did? Wouldn't you be trying to get your heart rate back and breathe a little bit?' You've got to be reasonable when you're looking at things. Sometimes that's what separates the referees that fighters want to have doing their fights compared to others, because they understand the complexities of what's going on."

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