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5.0 out of 5 stars "BIG" JOHN MCCARTHY, AN MMA PIONEER, 20 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Let's Get it On!: The Making of MMA & Its Ultimate Referee (Hardcover)
It's UFC 140, December 2011 and Jon Jones has just successfully defended his Light Heavyweight Title against Lyoto Machida, defeating him with a standing guillotine choke that put's Machida to sleep before he can tap out, as Jones walks aways Machida drops head first to the floor of the Octagon and the first person Machida will see when he awakes is veteran referee "Big " John McCarthy who checks on him and tells him he's going to be okay. McCarthy has done this countless times on fighters who have been knocked out or put to sleep by a submission. The fact that an MMA referee has written his own Autobiography will probably have newer fans of the sport asking why? Who's this guy? With "Let's Get it On! The Making of MMA & Its Ultimate Referee" you find out that "Big" John is one of the early pioneers of the UFC and MMA in general.

The book covers John's early life as he follows in his dad's footsteps and joins the LAPD; we are given a great insight into the Los Angeles riots that happened in 1992 after four Police officers were acquitted of the beating of Rodney King. It really was open season and anything goes and McCarthy tells us the stories of being a cop on the streets during this time that included being shot at regularly. Also the worries he had for his wife Elaine who was also on the force. It was in the aftermath of these riots that McCarthy would first meet Rorion Gracie and how the original idea for the first ever UFC event came about.

McCarthy covers the first few UFC's in great detail and includes some of the original ideas such as alligators circling the Octagon! He would eventually go on to referee the second event after been turned down in his attempts to compete. What follows are great stories of the UFC's early days where it really was no holds barred as loads of different fighting disciplines came to meet to decide which was the best. One thing McCarthy never get's that much credit for is the safer rules that he helped get put in place. There are many stories of the UFC going to court just trying to get a show on and at times failing and having to move the whole show to another state.

Another interesting thing is the subject of "fixed" fights in the UFC's early days; it's great to finally have some insight to this. Also trying to get regulated in Las Vegas throws up a few interesting names who were opposed such as Lorenzo Fertitta and Glenn Carano(father of future mma superstar & actress Gina). Of course the takeover by the Fertitta's is discussed and what new changes new UFC president Dana White brought. The Ultimate Fighter reality show is well covered as well as his retirement and come back to being a referee.

The book has some great photos of early UFC events as well down the side of some pages is a box with the event and matches officiated by McCarthy who gives a brief description of what happened. The book is written with long time MMA Journalist Loretta Hunt, a woman who has been covering MMA for over 10 years and has written for leading sites Sherdog, ESPN.com and currently Sports Illustrated. She also worked with Randy Couture on his fine autobiography "Becoming The Natural".

With MMA books getting more popular it's great to have an insight from one of its Pioneer's and one of the men responsible for how big it is today. Not only is this a fine Autobiography of "Big" John McCarthy's Career and life but it's a great history of what the UFC was like and what it has become today. There is only one thing left to say "Let's Get It On!"
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