Legendary MMA referee Big John McCarthy made his returning to reffing at last week's Strikeforce event.  I spoke to BJM today. TheGARV.com: Hey Big John. How are you feeling after your comeback at Strikeforce? BJM: (Laughs) I'm feeling just fine. TheGARV.com: Did you enjoy reffing again? BJM: It's was nice being back doing what I enjoy doing. TheGARV.com: Any chance of a UFC return? BJM: You know what, I have no say in any of that. That's up to the athletic commissions and where the UFC is at. TheGARV.com: But they could pick you if they wanted? The athletic commission? Yeah. TheGARV.com: Going back to the early UFCs, you were almost going to fight in UFC 1, correct? BJM: No.When UFC 1 was coming out, they had paperwork. You could fill out an application. I filled out the application, and they had already picked most of the people and I was just putting it in there for hopefully  UFC 2 or something like that. Then Rorian basically said, no you can't do that, not while Royce is in it.  Maybe later on when Royce is out of it, then you can do it. It would have been UFC 2, not UFC 1. TheGARV.com: I see. And then you got involved with the reffing instead of the fighting. BJM: That's exactly it. More with Big John McCarthy after the jump. TheGARV.com: Ok, the Brock vs. Randy fight. What did you think about that? BJM: I thought it was a good fight. I thought Randy was doing exactly what he should've done. He was getting inside on Brock and using the clinch to make him work. I thought Brock improved in some areas; the elbow he threw inside was well done. That came through training. I thought he did a good job, he actually stunned Randy with it. I think he realized you can't outmuscle everybody. He had some problems moving Randy around and you know that's just part of the learning cycle. I thought it was a very good fight for him overall. Obviously because he won, but he learned a lot of things from it. When he got cut you could tell it bothered him to a point but he collected himself and continued doing what he was supposed to do.  And the shot he hit Randy with? The ones that you don't see are the ones that hurt you. He hit him right behind the ear. It was a good shot. He's got that long reach but that's the fight game. TheGARV.com: That shot looked a little like Matt Serra's shot on GSP. BJM: Exactly. TheGARV.com:  Fedor talked a little about fighting Brock. Do you see Fedor as number one pound for pound? BJM: You know that pound for pound thing, it's so judgemental. God dang, it's such a hard thing. If you're going to say who is the fighter right now who can beat anyone? It's Fedor. You know, I look at it like this: Anderson Silva is an incredible fighter; his skills are remarkable and I love watching him.  Anderson walks around at a heavyweight weight.  He's a 220 pound guy that comes down. So if he fought at what he walks around at--that would be heavyweight--and I think if you put him and Fedor in the same ring, I think Anderson would be the underdog in that fight. I think Fedor would be the favorite.  That doesn't mean that Anderson couldn't win it. I just think that Fedor would be the favorite in the fight. But if you look at total skills sets and everything, when they come up with pound for pound, I look at who, if you put them as a heavyweight, who would be the person who has the most skills and the best skills of any fighter and the ability to win the fight.  And although Anderson is very good and I think he's up there, in my opinion BJ Penn has the most skills of any fighter. And if you took his body and made him a heavyweight, I think he is the best pound for pound fighter there is. TheGARV.com: Well, he's always up there with Silva, Fedor and GSP. I guess you could interchange them all. BJM: Absolutely. I've said it different in ways. You've got the Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn fight coming up. And that's a great fight. I think Georges St-Pierre is the favorite in the fight, even though I say that I think that BJ Penn is the best pound for pound fighter there is. And that's because weight does make a difference, especially when you're talking about the top guys.  GSP is one of those guys that's also in that top pound for pound list and so I think BJ is the underdog in that fight, even though I still say that overall he has the most skill of any fighter. TheGARV.com: Interesting. One last question. You've reffed in rings and in cages. Which do you prefer as a referee and which do you prefer as a fight fan? BJM: As a referee there's no doubt that I would rather do the cage. TheGARV.com: Oh yeah? Why's that? BJM: Because it's safer for the fighters. There's no doubt, no matter what anyone wants to say, the cage helps as far as keeping the fight where it's at.  It helps by having less interference by the referee because when you have a ring you have guys get into the ropes and when the referee stops the action, trust me, fighters try to take advantage of those things.  I don't blame the fighters for doing it; the referee's gotta try and catch it.  And so just the interference that occurs because of the ring makes it to where I think the cage is better for mixed martial arts. If you're a fan watching it?  The actual viewing portion, the ring is better because the cage and the fencing with the posts and everything, it's going to put something in your line of sight that's not there with the ring. And so I think that the ring is probably actually an easier viewing platform for the fights, but the cage is an absolutely better fighting platform and safer for the fighters. TheGARV.com: Ok, great. This should throw some fuel on the fire of the great ring vs. cage debate. BJM: (Laughs) Well, it's just my opinion. TheGARV.com: Well, you should know!  Thanks, Big John.


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