"Big" John McCarthy is widely, and rightfully, regarded as the most skilled, experienced referee in the UFC and beyond. And he is. And everyone knows it.
"He's the best in the business," is probably the most insightful thing that commentator Mike Goldberg has ever said.
Now, don't get me wrong; I have no problem with Big John receiving accolades. He deserves it. The man has officiated over 500 mixed martial arts matches worldwide, holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, served as a key figure in authoring MMA Unified Rules, and has been recognized by the state of California for his accomplishments in "Mixed Martial Arts Safety & Growth." Clearly, Big John is the guy you want to keep the action moving, the rules enforced, and the fighters safe.
My only concern with the ongoing lovefest for Big John is that everyone - and I mean everyone! - hears about Big John being the best ref in the UFC. This includes Herb Dean, Mario Yamasaki, Steve Mazzagatti, and Yves Levigne. Who??? The other UFC referees. Oh yeah...them...
Imagine sitting at work or in school and constantly being reminded that someone else is that much better than you. Yuck.
That said, Kodiak MMA would like to spread some love to the other boys in black. You might not be at the level of a Big John McCarthy (and that's OK), but we still love ya, fellas!
Mario Yamasaki - Can any other ref carry the "Super Mario" nickname? Didn't think so. Yamasaki is also founder and instructor of the Yamasaki Academy in the USA, and the Yamasaki family has been teaching martial arts in Brazil for over for two generations.
Steve Mazzagatti - In Italian, his last name means "kills cats," so now he's got that going for him, which is nice. Plus, he's got the most delicious moustache this side of Don Frye (sometimes). A proud, devoted family man, Mazzagatti also serves as a firefighter/engineer in Las Vegas.
Yves Levigne - Very simply, Yves Levigne leads the league in silent letters.
Herb Dean - Dean may have been involved with the Shamrock-Ortiz 2 debacle, the Arlovski sucker punch and fence grab against Marcio Cruz, the questionable Cro Cop-Gonzaga stand up, and stopping the Mir-Sylvia AFTER Sylvia's arm snapped, but he holds the distinction of being the only UFC referee who fought Joe "Diesel" Riggs ( at Rage in the Cage 43) and submitted in Round 1 due to strikes.