John McCarthy names his MMA Mount Rushmore, which includes Ronda Rousey

John McCarthy went for an old-school theme when naming his MMA Mount Rushmore.

McCarthy, a former official who now works as a fight analyst and commentator for Bellator, focused on pioneers of the sport when creating his list.

He started out with Royce Gracie, whom both UFC president Dana White and UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten included in their lists. He credits Gracie for introducing grappling into the world of MMA as well as his ability to submit opponents time and time again.

“I agree totally with Dana in his one of Royce Gracie,” McCarthy told MMA Junkie. “You can’t have a Mount Rushmore without the guy that made people go, ‘Whoa, who is that guy? What is he doing?’ Because back then, I was maybe one of 120 students of Gracie jiu-jitsu and everyone back then, it was all about kicking and punching, standup fighting – that was it. If you were a grappler, you were an idiot. So what Royce did in winning the first couple of UFCs is he changed the martial arts world.”

Also on his list is former UFC bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey. While McCarthy acknowledged that current UFC featherweight and bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes is one of the greatest female fighters of all time, he thinks few have had the impact that Rousey has had in changing the perception of women’s MMA.

“If I was going to put a female fighter, I have to put the female fighter that changed the sport,” McCarthy said. “Who was it that all of a sudden made it to where people were interested in women’s fighting? You can put Gina Carano. Gina was absolutely responsible for people starting to tune into female fighting and if you take it one step further, who made it cool to be a female fighter? Who made it mainstream for women? Who made it to where everyone wanted to put their eyes on it? It’s Ronda Rousey.

“You cannot like her, you cannot like the way she ended her career or whatever – it doesn’t matter. She changed the sport of MMA for women fighters, so that’s what I look at.”

The third fighter McCarthy included is former UFC light heavyweight and two-time heavyweight champion Randy Couture, whom McCarthy praised for his fight IQ.

“He changed the sport as far as he was the first guy to bring in game planning,” McCarthy said. “He was the one to bring in the entire package. The cardio like Frank Shamrock did and the game planning and everything, but the difference between Frank and Randy is that Randy went and won the heavyweight championship. He won the light heavyweight championship and he won those multiple times.

“It was his progression in the sport and again, a person that started to bring the attention of mainstream onto our sport.”

Finally, McCarthy included one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, Fedor Emelianenko. Emelianenko went on an incredible 27-fight unbeaten run, which included capturing the PRIDE heavyweight title.

“Based upon the fact that he was so good for so long, so unbeaten for so long and in a different promotion in PRIDE, he created a system of fighting,” McCarthy said. “Mark Coleman is the guy we give credit to as the godfather of ground and pound. Fedor was the one that perfected it. He was the one that learned how to hit not only just shots, but heavy shots that damaged the opponent and made them have to quit.”

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