Authors: Big John McCarthy,Bas Rutten Loretta Hunt,Bas Rutten
Published 2011 by Medallion Press, Inc.
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is a registered trademark of Medallion Press, Inc.
Copyright © 2011 by John McCarthy with Loretta Hunt
Cover design by James Tampa
Cover photography by Eric Curtis
Back cover fighters: Alan Shook, David Weber
Edited by Emily Steele
Interior photos courtesy of John McCarthy and Loretta Hunt
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.
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Images on color insert #2, page
courtesy of MAD # 348 © 1996 E.C. Publications, Inc. Used with Permission.
Typeset in Adobe Garamond Pro
Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file with the Library of Congress.
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To my dad, who always has been and always will be my hero. You have shown me from the beginning what a real man is and have lived your life with honor, integrity, and humility. You are a force of nature.
To my mom, who was always there for me while I was growing up. You patched me up and got me back into whatever I was doing at the time. You were at not only every game I played but just about every practice too. Thank you for everything. I love you.
To my children, Ron, Britney, and John. I know I was far from perfect, but I was always trying. I am sorry that I sometimes missed things I should have been at because of MMA. I made some bad choices, and I apologize.
To Rorion and Royce. Thank you for what you did. You inspired me and made me a believer. Your father, Helio, is the creator of MMA, and you both are responsible for putting it on the map.
To Bob Meyrowitz. Thank you for believing in MMA and me. You kept the sport alive when everyone was trying to kill it. Everyone who loves MMA owes you a thanks.
To Lorenzo, Frank, and Dana. Thank you for saving the sport of MMA. When you came in, things were looking rather bleak. I know it did not turn around overnight, but through your hard work and vision, you made it happen.
Last and certainly not least, I have to talk about Elaine. Thanks would not nearly cover what you have meant to me and how you have made my life complete. You have been there since the beginning and have put up with all of the craziness that has surrounded my life. I could not have asked for a greater partner in life. You have made the ride special, and I will always love you.
I am the last of a dying breed. I talk, walk, dress, and act the way I want in a world where few others do. I will tell you the truth, even if you don’t like it. Many of you don’t like me, are even afraid of me because I tell it like it is and you don’t like to hear it. I am always there for my friends and will tell them the truth even if they don’t like it, because that is what a friend does. Strength and Honor is my bloodline. I take the lead, back my friends, and will stand with them no matter if it is an army standing in front of us. I will fight until the end. Death before Dishonor is our motto. I am a man of Honor.
—Nick Castiglia, for his sensei Pat Cooligan
Bas having a “moment” with Maurice Smith
Bas is pointing out who’s number one. Really.
I really like the book
by Paulo Coelho. In that book, the author talks about omens: things or people that you meet for a reason and that, if you listen, will help you to find what you want in life.
John McCarthy has crossed paths
with many omens in his lifetime and often
His first omen was his father, a tough, no-nonsense Los Angeles police officer and Medal of Valor winner credited with originating the modern-day Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) program still used to this day. Both his mom and dad loved sports, and his father once told John that if a sport had no contact, he wouldn’t consider it a sport. I love that advice.
Following in his father’s footsteps, John was always interested in learning how to keep himself and his fellow officers safe. He was ahead of his time, because when everybody still believed that stand-up fighting, like karate, tae kwon do, boxing, or Thai boxing, was the most effective type of martial art, John already knew he could take guys down and simply sit on them. Then it was pretty much over for them.
So when, after the Los Angeles Riots, the LAPD was looking for the best ways to subdue a person, they invited a plethora (I had to use this word, being “El Guapo” and all) of martial artists to the table. When John challenged some of the teachings of the other instructors in real-life police settings, he grabbed the attention of Rorion, who invited John to train at the Gracie Academy. You see? Rorion Gracie was John’s omen that day because that was the person who, a year later, started the UFC.
Rorion saw in John the qualities that we all see. John was imposing because he was big and strong but, most important, he had great insight and knowledge of skills and was a decision maker. After UFC 1, Rorion asked John if he wanted to referee at UFC 2, a show John wanted to fight in himself. Nobody knows all this stuff that happened when MMA became important, but guess who was right there from the beginning? That’s right: John!
A month and a half before the UFC held its first show on November 12, 1993, I started fighting in Japan for the organization Pancrase. What I did was called free fighting, while the UFC called its fighting No Holds Barred. We had rules and were wearing shoes plus shin protection, but it was fighting. And since I was right there when it all started, I always thought I knew a lot about what happened in MMA from its birth. After reading this book, I guess I was wrong.
For instance, I thought the phrase “intelligently defending oneself” was something made up in the last ten years with all of the newer rules. Nope. John came up with that after UFC 2, as he did many of the sport’s rules still used to this day. (Sound familiar?) There are so many more cool facts that I jotted down to share with you here, but I realized I’d ruin all of the surprises!
I also always believed I was so cool for coming up with a good way to explain to the nonbelievers that MMA is not a violent sport. I always said MMA is a combination of four Olympic sports and while Olympians train solely for
sport, a mixed martial artist has to know them all. It turns out that John was years ahead of me, telling that same story, because he’s the one who actually made it up. I probably just heard it from him and stole it.