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Mixed martial arts: McCarthy to hold a book signing

The sport’s biggest referee will be at his gym in Valencia on Wednesday

Posted: August 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

On the heels of 1992’s Los Angeles riots, the last thing former Los Angeles police officer John McCarthy thought he would be doing was laying the groundwork for one of the world’s fastest-growing sports — mixed martial arts.

When a committee was assembled to evaluate various forms of martial arts, McCarthy met legendary fighter Rorion Gracie. Without knowing it, the meeting set into motion a storied career that is detailed in McCarthy’s upcoming book, “Let’s Get It On! The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee.”

The book is scheduled to be released on Thursday, but McCarthy will be holding a prerelease book signing on Wednesday at his gym in Valencia, Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy.

“What I’m really hoping people get out of it is that a lot of people have contributed with the sport of MMA, and (people) are really into it now,” he said of the book. “They kind of believe that certain people have done it all, and they are the reason for the sport being where it’s at. But there are a lot of people that deserve credit for getting it started.”

Those people include fighters who never received mass-media acclaim, and all those who poured their heart and soul into the sport they believed in. One such person is Dutch legend Bas Rutten, who wrote the book’s forward.

The book, which was written entirely in Santa Clarita over two and a half years, details McCarthy’s involvement as the sport’s foremost referee and as a central figure in establishing its infrastructure, says co-author Loretta Hunt.

“Obviously first and foremost, I wanted to document some of the history of the sport,” Hunt said. “Very shortly after meeting John McCarthy, I realized that he had a big bulk of our sport’s history up in his head, and it needed to get down onto the page somehow.

“Second, I wanted the MMA media, my peers and my colleagues, managers, agents and new fighters coming in that haven’t had the benefit of knowing John or have come into the sport in its later years, I wanted them to know how important John McCarthy was to the development of the sport. Many steps of the way, he was instrumental in what has kept the sport alive.”

Hunt is one of MMA’s leading journalists, having written for the Los Angeles Times, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and a host of industry-specific outlets.

In 2006, McCarthy opened BJMUTA on Rye Canyon Road in Valencia. Inside is a venerable museum of MMA memorabilia as well as a large number of trainees learning a variety of disciplines. The venue also plays host to Certification of Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development, a program he started in 2008.

Come Wednesday, it will be the site of a full-circle moment for McCarthy as he celebrates not just the release of the book, but also the anniversary of his gym.

“Anybody that wants to come out on the day, they are more than welcome,” McCarthy said.


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