John McCarthy reacts to controversial 2014 Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero fight

The referee overseeing the fight between Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero is speaking out, nine years later.
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

At UFC 178 on Sept. 27, 2014, Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero stepped into the Octagon to fight on the main card. The fight had gone through two full rounds but something happened between rounds two and three that fans still debate about today.

After Romero was nearly finished in the final seconds of the second round, he was unable to answer the bell in the third. Normally that would end in a TKO for the standing fighter. Instead, Romero was given more time and the fight continued. Less than a minute later Romero won by TKO.


It's something that Kennedy (and many fans) still think about to this day. In fact, Kennedy tweeted about the moment, nearly 10 years later admonishing the Nevada State Athletic commission for their flub.

"Robbery anniversary and the end of my fight career," kennedy wrote. "Dear Nevada Athletic Commission. NAC 467.728 If a combatant fails or refuses to resume competing when the bell sounds...the referee shall award a decision of TKO."

John McCarthy admits 'Perhaps I could of done something differently'

The referee overseeing the fight, "Big" John McCarthy replied to the tweet explaining what happened and why things went the way they did.

"Tim you are an amazing person and I truly wish the very best life has to offer both you and your family. Perhaps I could of done something differently during your fight," McCarthy wrote. "I wish I had the forethought to envision this exact situation before it ever occurred and that way I may have handled it differently. But you are not stating facts about what occurred. Yoel was told to stay seated by the NSAC Inspector. The truth is the Cutman hired and paid for by the UFC did not re-enter the cage when summoned to do so and that is what held up the start of the 3rd round. It is not Yoel’s fault that this occurred and the Cutman is not part of Yoel’s official corner. Language barriers did not help as well. It’s egregious to penalize a person when they are not at fault and that is why there were no point deductions nor DQ. Was it completely fair to you? No I don’t believe it was, but there are times when there is no perfect solution in the moment. I hope the very best for you in all that you do."

At press time, Kennedy has not replied back.

Kennedy would go on to fight just one more time, a loss to Kelvin Gastelum. Romero fought under the UFC banner until 2020, then made his Bellator debut in 2021. He is still fighting.

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