If it weren’t for referee John McCarthy, defending UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones could have an official loss on his MMA record, apart from this disqualification he suffered in 2009.
While Jones and McCarthy have fought their heads in the past, the legendary referee remains adamant that he came to the rescue of Jones in the famous title fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165. This fight remains the one of the most difficult of Jones’ career and one that he could have probably lost on the dashboards. But it was in fact McCarthy’s efforts during the fight that extended the game and allowed Jones to gain the upper hand after a hard-fought fifth round.
“Let’s put it this way, Jon Jones thinks I hate him,” said McCarthy in a recent podcast weighing episode with Josh Thomson. “He actually did, at some point, you know he wanted it, it was before the fight against Daniel Cormier, I think, but he went out in the media and said he didn’t want me to make his fight. And it’s because of the fight he had with Vitor Belfort in Toronto, Canada. Where you know, there have been kicks and all that. But it’s good that Jon feels good, you know he doesn’t like me. Didn’t I like Jon? No! I really liked Jon Jones. And I will be honest. Jon would have lost his world title if I didn’t fight at UFC 165 when he fought Alexander Gustafsson. There was no other referee who would have said to the doctor “No, I’m not stopping the fight” and would have let him out for the fifth round. And let this fight continue. Because referees will not put their careers at stake for a fighter. So there you are going to say “you want it to stop?” Then do this with your hands (waving to stop the contest) and the fight will be over. Alexander Gustafsson will be the winner. “
Jones, who looked unbeatable in 2013, finally defeated Gustafsson in a rematch at UFC 232 five years later. It was proof that Jones was actually the best fighter at 205 pounds, but it didn’t do much to undo the legendary action of the first fight.
“When Jon Jones fought Alexander Gustafsson, he was hit with one, I think it was a right hand that was on the right eye in the first round and that opened his eye. And he went through the fight, second round, third round, and then the cut got a little worse at the end of the third round, “said McCarthy in more detail.
“At the end of the fourth round, the doctor came to me and said” you know what I don’t like the way his eye looks, I think we should stop the fight “. And I watched it, and Jon just won the fourth round. You know, came back because Alexander won it but Jon came back and won and almost finished Alexander in that fourth round. He was the champion and he fought with the eye as he did during the whole fight. And he never tapped on it or anything. So I looked at him and I said “He just won this last round, I don’t think we should stop this fight”. He says “I don’t like it.” So I said “I’m telling you what, we’re going to let the fight go on and if I see this drastic change, I’m going to stop the fight and bring you.” Right. So he said ok and he (Jon Jones) comes out and I tell myself that I never stop this fight. Ok, because I’m not going to take someone’s title based on a cut that … you know, I know what the bad cuts are and it wasn’t … I’m not saying I’m more smart than the doctor but when it comes to combat injuries i’m smarter than the doctor. Especially when it comes to cuts. So that’s how much I hated Jon Jones. ”
Jones, 32, has yet to be beaten inside the Octagon, although he has had close encounters with Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos in his last two title defenses. Despite his continuous reign of excellence, Jones is currently in a financial deadlock with the promotion, in which the champion is ready to spend three years to get the money he wants.
What do you say, Maniacs? Did McCarthy save Jones from losing his belt at UFC 165?
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