SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 26: Referee John McCarthy signals the start of round four between Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the SAP Center on July 26, 2014 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***John McCarthy

‘Big’ John McCarthy Joins Bellator MMA Broadcast Team as Color Commentator

Famed referee 'Big' John McCarthy will take over the role recently vacated by Jimmy Smith

Veteran referee “Big” John McCarthy has been named as the new color commentator for Bellator MMA starting with the upcoming show on Jan. 20 that will be the debut for the promotion on the new Paramount Network.

McCarthy is widely considered the gold standard when it comes to officiating in mixed martial arts with his roots going back to the early days of the UFC. Over the years, McCarthy has continued to lead the pack when it comes to refereeing for MMA and he even launched his own academy where he teaches and trains potential officials for the sport.

Now McCarthy will set aside his refereeing duties to begin calling fights for Bellator MMA in 2018.

“I first want to say how grateful I am for the opportunity I have been given to work with the incredible team Bellator has assembled. It is always so hard to leave something you love, but I have always wanted to step away based on my terms rather than someone else’s. My goals are to work as hard as I can to meet the expectations everyone will have for me and to hopefully someday exceed them,” McCarthy said in a press release.

“I cannot think of anyone I would rather be working with than Scott Coker. Scott has always been a person I admire because of his honesty, loyalty and love for the martial arts. I want to thank everyone from Bellator and Viacom for the trust you are bestowing upon me to keep the commentating of Bellator MMA at the highest levels of the sport.”

From the sound of things, McCarthy will put refereeing behind him for now to pursue the new opportunity with Bellator MMA where he takes over as color commentator following the recent departure of Jimmy Smith from the same role.

Bellator MMA also announced that Chael Sonnen has re-upped with the company to provide color commentary for their events as well while working alongside Mauro Ranallo and Mike Goldberg, who provide play-by-play for the promotion.

McCarthy’s first appearance behind the microphone for Bellator will come on Jan. 20 in a marquee show for the promotion with welterweight champion Douglas Lima taking on Rory MacDonald and the kickoff to the heavyweight grand prix tournament featuring a fight between Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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