MMA debates are alive and well. Especially on social media. Scroll down the timeline and fans of the sport will always see at least one of these questions. Who is the greatest fighter of all time? Who is the GOAT of their respective division? And, who is on the Mount Rushmore of mixed martial arts? Well, former MMA referee and Bellator color commentator “Big” John McCarthy recently unveiled who he believes in on MMA’s Mount Rushmore. And, the list was quite rowdy.
McCarthy has become extra vocal about his opinions on the sport since the beginning of quarantine. He’s voiced frustrations with fighters such as Jon Jones. Additionally, he’s closely critiqued the job that referees have executed in high profile fights. He’s even game pointers on how to score fights, and why some judges have gotten it all wrong.
John McCarthy Reveals His Mount Rushmore of MMA
On this occasion, John spoke with MMA Junkie about his MMA Mount Rushmore. The subject is very individualized in terms of the criteria needed for such an honor. Some people choose the best 4 fighters they can think of. While others select the most influential to the sport, or the four most popular faces. For McCarthy, he selected Royce Gracie, Ronda Rousey, Fedor, and Randy Couture. Here are his reasons for each fighter.
“You can’t have a Mount Rushmore without the guy that made people go, ‘Whoa, who is that guy? What is he doing?’ Because back then, I was maybe one of 120 students of Gracie jiu-jitsu, and everyone back then, it was all about kicking and punching, standup fighting – that was it. If you were a grappler, you were an idiot. So what Royce did in winning the first couple of UFCs is he changed the martial arts world.”
If I was going to put a female fighter, I have to put the female fighter that changed the sport. Who was it that all of a sudden made it to where people were interested in women’s fighting? You can put Gina Carano,” continued John. “Gina was absolutely responsible for people starting to tune into female fighting and if you take it one step further, who made it cool to be a female fighter? Who made it mainstream for women? Who made it to where everyone wanted to put their eyes on it? It’s Ronda Rousey.
“The cardio like Frank Shamrock did and the game planning and everything, but the difference between Frank and Randy is that Randy went and won the heavyweight championship. He won the light heavyweight championship and he won those multiple times. It was his progression in the sport and again, a person that started to bring the attention of mainstream onto our sport.”
“Mark Coleman is the guy we give credit to as the godfather of ground and pound. Fedor was the one that perfected it. He was the one that learned how to hit not only just shots, but heavy shots that damaged the opponent and made them have to quit.”
Now that the list has been exposed, do fans agree with it? What are some other criteria for Mount Rushmore?