(Who’s to say what ‘Octagon control’ means, anyway? PicProps: UFC.com)
Among the warning signs that you may have won a bullshit decision, we’d think that A) The company being so unhappy that it decides to pay the other guy his win bonus anyway and B) A resulting internet beef on the subject between the top athletic official in Nevada and a shoot-from-the-hip stand-up comedian would both be pretty high on the list. That is to say nothing of the chorus of boos from the live crowd and your own trainer shrugging at you like “We’ll take it, dude,” in the cage after the announcement of the verdict. On their own, any one of those things would be bad enough, but together they make Leonard Garcia’s split decision victory over Nam Phan from last weekend look like an open-and-shut case of judging incompetence.
At the time even Garcia — who seems like a totally likable guy, by the way – admitted during his postfight interview that he didn’t think he deserved to win. Given a day or two to think about it however, he now tells MMA Fighting.com that after sitting down with Phan to watch the fight (awkward!) and then viewing it “approximately 15 times” since, he’s changed his mind. You know what? Fuck it, Garcia thinks he won that bad boy.
"I think I outscored him in the first and third rounds," Garcia tells our guy Ben Fowlkes. "I think that in the third round, I was dead tired, but I kept firing and kept pressing the action, and I was able to get a takedown as well."
Yeah, we’re gonna go ahead and suggest that Leonard Garcia is a little bit too emotionally close to this situation to be truly impartial. From where we’re sitting, he very obviously lost. The fact that he seemed to sway the judges by throwing more total punches (and being a little more demonstrative with them) is certainly not his fault, but at the risk of handing out some more unsolicited advice from the CagePotato PR firm, it’d probably just be best for him to take the money and run.
So many viewings of the fight from the UFC broadcast not only changed his opinion of his own performance, it also apparently gave Garcia some time to digest Joe Rogan’s repeated on-air criticisms and indictments of his technical striking game, at one point saying Garcia’s punching style would be better for “throwing rocks” than winning MMA fights.
"It bothers me to hear him say some of that stuff he said …,” Garcia says. “He talks about certain things that I do in the fight, but that’s just my fighting style. I don’t fight Joe Rogan’s fighting style. I apologize to Joe Rogan, but I can’t fight his style. That’s not my style of fighting. What makes me who I am is my style of fighting, and people seem to enjoy it. I’ve won several Fight of the Night (bonuses) because of it, and I enjoy fighting that way. I think it’s something the fans deserve, is to see two guys give it their all.”
The thing Garcia really regrets, he says, is taking the fight with Phan on a little less than two weeks notice. Previous to that, it’d been rumored that he would face former WEC fighter Tyler Toner – a guy who he’s occasionally worked out with at the Grudge Training Center in Colorado – and that he had to wait until after the semifinal episode of “The Ultimate Fighter” aired to find out he’d be taking on Phan.
Garcia says the late notice robbed him of the opportunity to shore up his technique, get in real fighting shape or even cook up a game plan for Phan. It’s one of the reasons he is so interested in giving Phan a rematch. It’s also why he says he told UFC President Dana White after the bout that he won’t be accepting any more late notice fights.
Look, we understand where Garcia is coming from – and frankly, taking short-notice fights really is a bad idea – but as a guy who is seen by both his boss and the public at large as having walked away with a win he didn’t deserve at the “TUF 12” finale, now is maybe not the best time to be making demands.