The normally mundane task of the selection of officials for a championship bout got a brief jolt of excitement during Tuesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission meeting.
NAC executive director Bob Bennett revealed he had received an email from a representative for former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones shortly before the meeting expressing concern over the potential selection of John McCarthy to referee his bout against champion Daniel Cormier next month.
Bennett was undeterred.
“Upon review of the complaints (and) concerns of (Jones’ manager Malki Kawa), I did some research,” Bennett said during the meeting. “I certainly respect the comments that he made, but I do not think they are significant enough to deter me from moving from my initial recommendation.”
McCarthy was selected by unanimous approval after Bennett proposed the veteran official to the commission.
Kawa’s objections stemmed from complaints over pre-fight instructions McCarthy has given Jones before fights in the past, which his camp feels have singled him out.
Bennett said he considers all such objections, but didn’t feel the objection was merited based on the information provided.
In such cases a fighter or his camp raises a legitimate concern, Bennett says the commission would work to ensure fair competition and that any indication of bias would cause the NAC to not only remove an official from the bout, but most likely from working events in the state going forward.
What the commission won’t allow, according to Bennett, is fighters trying to handpick officials.
“This is the fight capital of the world,’ Bennett told the Review-Journal late Tuesday. “Muhammad Ali, Chuck Liddell, whoever. It doesn’t matter who you are. You don’t get to pick your own referee in the state of Nevada.”
Derek Cleary, Sal D’Amato and Glenn Trowbridge were selected as the judges for the bout, which will serve as the main event of UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena on July 9.
Their services may be needed as the first bout between Jones and Cormier went the distance in January 2015.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj