Book Review: ‘Let’s Get It On!’ by John McCarthy

johnmccarthy01 Book Review: Lets Get It On! by John McCarthy

Have you ever wondered how the UFC got started? Who was behind-the-scenes, and what kind of arguments went on backstage to get the show running? This book explains the birth of the UFC, and with it, MMA’s most infamous referee, Big John McCarthy.

McCarthy starts off the book with his childhood, and his relationship with his father. He talks about how his father molded him into who he is today. And, that same upbringing helped him make decisions inside the cage.

When UFC first started, there were no Athletic Comissions watching over the fights. The referees had martial arts background, including Big John McCarthy whom is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu through the Gracies. But, the referees had to adopt to the fights, and relied on their own instincts to know when to stop the fights. In the early UFCs, the referees usually didn’t stop the fights unless there were submissions, or if the corner threw in the towel. Most fighters that were knocked out ended up eating more punches when their corners were too slow to throw in the towel.

McCarthy helped shaped the rules and regulations that is now used in MMA. Through his experience, he helped the UFC propose certain rules to the Comissions. He was there to explain why or why not a certain rule should be applied. He was also there to explain that MMA is no different than Boxing.

McCarthy also mentions how he makes quick decisions inside the cage. For example, he talks about how he does not look at the cuts or the bruises that fighters sustain during their matches. Instead, he looks at their eyes. The eyes can reveal a lot, whether a fighter wants to quit or continue on. For the most part, fighters will not quit or tap unless a submission is applied. McCarthy will look at the eyes and know if they are done.

Let’s Get It On is very informative in sharing how MMA was built. Every MMA fan can appreciate the efforts that McCarthy invested into the sport.

MMA is now more mainstream but it wasn’t always the case. The UFC built their products well. But, maybe the UFC wouldn’t be this popular today if Big John McCarthy wasn’t there to help shape the rules of the sport.

I highly recommend this book even if you are only a casual fan. It will increase your appreciation for the sport, and for the people that were involved in making it the way it is today.

The book is available now at

Grade: A

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