‘Big John’ McCarthy Criticizes Ref Over Chris Weidman Eye Poke Controversy

Veteran MMA referee “Big John” McCarthy has some thoughts on the Chris Weidman-Bruno Silva controversy from over the weekend.

On Saturday night, Weidman poked Silva in the eye twice which led to Silva falling on the ground. While on the ground, the ref, Gary Copeland, decided to call the fight a TKO victory for Weidman.

After watching the replay, the New Jersey state athletic commission changed the ruling from a TKO to a technical decision for Weidman due to the fact that he was up on the scorecards during the eye poke.

McCarthy believed Copeland should have warned Weidman earlier about the eye pokes and instead gave the former UFC champ preferential treatment.

“In this situation, when Gary Copeland has Chris Weidman, who is putting his fingers out like it’s a pitchfork, you need to address that as the official. I don’t care that you’re in New Jersey where Chris Weidman is a hero,”

“I’m being honest, I wanted Chris Weidman to win this fight… But I can’t have Chris Weidman getting preferential treatment as far as you’re the one creating this problem,” he continued. “You need to address the problem and make sure the individual who is creating the problem doesn’t do it anymore. Well, he did do it more.”

McCarthy then went on to explain why the New Jersey Athletic Commission eventually made the right call when they went to replay.

“I don’t think Gary saw the eye pokes [that led to Silva dropping towards the end], so that was understandable. He makes the call of stopping the fight. Once he makes the call of stopping the fight and they look at the tape, you can see that he did get poked in the eye… They need to have the judges score whatever part of the third round they’ve seen. Who won that round? You already have two rounds that have been judged. This need to go to a technical decision. It’s not a unanimous decision victory. It’s a technical decision victory for Chris Weidman,”

“Chris had won the first two rounds and if you’re gonna say the third round, I think Chris was winning that one for the most part, too,” he continued. “So, I knew Chris was gonna win the fight, but that way it’s not on the fact that a foul occurred and the referee made a decision to stop it without seeing the foul. Now we’re saying, ‘OK, we see the foul. This is what we do.’ Based upon the fact that the fight had entered the third round, you could go to a technical decision.”

“If the same thing had happened in the second round, it would’ve ended up being a no contest,”. “You would not have had a technical decision, because they can only go to that technical decision if the fight enters the third round. By going to that technical decision, it’s the right thing to do. I’m just gonna tell you straight out.”

Silva has already stated that he plans to appeal the decision.