Fight Week's Title Fights Get Refs and Judges

Fightland Blog

By Tom Taylor

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The UFC’s International Fight Week, which runs from July 5th to 10th, is going to be incredible. Not only will this wild week include more than 30 fights, but a whopping 5 of those fights will be for UFC titles.

First up, on July 7th, we’ll see Rafael Dos Anjos defend his lightweight belt against Eddie Alvarez. Then, on the 8th, the strawweight title will be up for grabs as dominant champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her belt against number-one-contender and long-time rival Claudia Gadelha. Then, the next night, on the main card of the landmark UFC 200, we’ll see Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo fight for the interim featherweight title, Miesha Tate defend her bantamweight strap against Amanda Nunes, and Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier unify their light heavyweight titles.

As the weeks between us and these incredible championship matchups melt away, the final logistical preparations for them are being made. The most recent effort to this end was the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s unanimous selection of the referees and judges for each bout. Here are the details.

Dos Anjos and Alvarez’s lightweight title fight will be refereed by the ever-capable Herb Dean. Judging duties for this bout will go to Derek Clark, Sal D’Amato and Junichiro Kamijo.

Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha’s strawweight title grudge match, meanwhile, will be refereed by Big John McCarthy, and judged by Jeff Mullen, Marcos Rosales and Dave Hagen.

Aldo and Edgar’s interim featherweight title fight will be overseen by Marc Goddard, with Tony Weeks, Marcos Rosales and Junichiro Kamijo sitting cage-side to score the fight. 

Tate’s bantamweight title defense against Nunes will be officiated by Herb Dean, while judging duties will go to Derek Cleary, Sal D’Amato and Glenn Trowbridge.

Jones and Cormier’s title unification, finally, will be officiated by John McCarthy and judged by the same trio as Tate vs. Nunes.

While MMA judges are almost universally reviled by fans, the referees for these title fights, at least, look perfectly capable. Dean and McCarthy are arguably the most popular refs in the game, while Goddard is fairly well-respected as well. Despite the good reputation of these officials however, not everyone is happy with these referee assignments.

According to MMAFighting.com, who spoke with NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett, Jon Jones and his camp have apparently expressed concern with McCarthy reffing the UFC 200 main event.  

“Earlier this morning, I did receive at 8:18 an e-mail from the Jones camp, from Mr. (Malki) Kawa, expressing his concerns regarding referee John McCarthy in this fight,” Bennett told MMAFighting. “Upon review of his complaints or his concerns, I did some research, and I certainly respect the comments that he made, but I do not think they are significant enough to deter me from moving from my initial recommendation.”

So, it appears that Jones’ concerns, whatever they are, will go unheeded. And while these concerns surely have some merit, Jones and his camp probably don’t need to worry too much. While we see officiating snafus fairly frequently—such as the one that forced Joanne Calderwood to brutalize and injured Valerie Letourneau at UFC Ottawa—McCarthy is rarely in the cage when these things happen. He's as experienced and capable as MMA refs come. Yes, Jones, Cormier, and the rest of fight week’s championship fighters, seem to be in good hands. 


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