June 27th 2016
Name – Kevin MacDonald
Years as a Referee – 16
Where are you from ?
How long have you been a mma referee ?
The first bout I officiated was back in 2000.
How did you get in to the sport ?
My brother sent me a copy of UFC 1 when I was at the Naval Academy. We couldn’t have televisions there so I had to sneak into the company wardroom to see it. I was hooked from Gordeau’s 1st soccer kick. I was training judo at the time. When I moved back to Boston I began training with a Fairtex affiliate (now closed). In 1997 I found my self in Houston where I first trained MMA (or, NHB, as it was called then). That’s where I began competing.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to become a referee ?
Far more supportive than when I was fighting!! LOL!! MMA has been a very big part of my life for a long time. My dad was very supportive, but my mom wasn’t until I did the UFC. She actually came to the last one in Boston.
What is your favorite part of being the third man in the cage ?
Best seat in the house and the ability to make sure the right calls are made. If you want a job done right……..
Who is your biggest inspiration ?
For MMA?? Bad officials.
Sounds weird I know but nothing inspires/motivates me more than seeing bad officials with no oversight or repercussions. I see inspiring fighters and stories all the time, only to see the whole thing blown by poor refereeing/judging.
What does being a part of this sport mean to you ?
It’s a huge part of my life. I have been blessed to travel across the country and internationally to officiate this sport which was basically banned and illegal when I first got into it. I went from risking arrest to be involved fighting in front of 100 people in the late 90’s, to being escorted to the cage by police in front of 48,000 fans in Brazil last month. That’s one cool journey!
what has been your most memorable fight to date ?
Don’t think I could pick one as the category is too broad. Being in Curatiba last month for the UFC debut in the hometown of Chute Boxe was quite special.
What is your mindset on fight night ?
There is a common saying among officials, JDFIU.
What promotions do you referee for ?
As referees we work for the commission who called us, not the promotion. I’ve had the benefit of working for both the biggest, as well as countless local shows too.
Date and time of your next event ?
Tonight, CES in Lincoln, RI
What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
Just that I was a fair and decent guy who helped others, made the sport better, and moved the ball forward
What is your favorite quote or motto ?
When it comes to officiating there is only one – JDFIU – Mike Mazzuli
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
I was honored to be appointed to the Rules and Regulations Committee for the ABC. To have a real voice in improving the sport, on such a high level, was quite humbling.
Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
Fellow officials/trainers Rob Hinds and John McCarthy are always great to bounce ideas and situations back and forth with.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport and why ?
Fans. If they stop buying tickets, we stop having shows.
What drives or motivates you ?
In real life, my family and faith. In the MMA world, just to do my job safely, fairly, and to give the fighters the best chance to do their thing.
What is something people might not know about you ?
I have a funeral directing license and I used to be a professional yoyo performer.
what do you like to do in your free time ?
Spend time with my family outside snowboarding, surfing, diving, shooting, etc.
What advice can you give to young people coming up in different areas of mma ?
Don’t get caught up in the drama and BS. Make sure you are enjoying yourself, being a positive influence, and don’t take yourself too seriously
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a referee ?
What gets you hyped up for an event ?
I try not to get “hyped”. A referee should be as level-headed as possible.
do you have any rituals you follow before you step in the cage ?
Usually a prayer at the beginning of the night asking for a great show, no serious injuries, and that everybody makes it home safely.
Where do you see the sport of mma in 5-10 years ?
Who is your favorite fighter ?
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
Thank you, for this interview and doing your part to better the sport!!