Steroids in MMA
Which MMA Fighter Will Test Positive For Steroids Next?

Stats Confirm That Phan/Garcia Decision Was Indeed Bullshit

(Apparently, leaving your face open for repeated blows means you’re “dictating the action.” Photo courtesy of

So another Leonard Garcia fight is in the books, which means it’s time to ask the judges, once again: Are you guys totally blind, or just legally blind, so that, you know, you can make out shapes and degrees of light, that kind of thing?  

Garcia’s split-decision victory over Nam Phan at Saturday’s TUF 12 Finale elicited immediate chants of “Bullshit!” from the Las Vegas fans, as well as a lengthy anti-NSAC rant from Joe Rogan. Did the judges see something we didn’t? Am I just biased by the fact that Phan is a likable underdog, and Garcia’s striking is an aesthetic nightmare that I can’t stand watching?

Well, no, as it turns out. According to FightMetric’s report on Phan/Garcia, the match should have been scored a 30-27 for Phan based solely on statistical effectiveness. Phan landed more “significant strikes” in every round, with only the first round being close (33-30 significant strikes in Phan’s favor). The second round was an obvious runaway for Phan (34-13 in the s.s. department, with a brief knockdown via side-kick) and the third was also a clear win for Phan (35-21). The only advantage Garcia had was his two takedowns (one apiece in rounds 2 and 3), neither of which led to any real damage.

But in the end, only one judge, Junichiro Kamijo, gave all three rounds to Phan. Adalaide Byrd and Tony Weeks saw it 29-28 for Garcia, meaning they both gave rounds 1 and 3 to Bad Boy, which is absolutely insane. One brief takedown in round three surpasses getting picked apart for the majority of the period? (By the way, Adalaide Bryd’s previous career highlights include scoring the Akiyama/Belcher fight at UFC 100 a 30-27 shutout for Akiyama.)

Yesterday, Sherdog’s Jason Probst did his best to defend the Garcia/Phan decision, which even Leonard Garcia seemed to disagree with at the time:

“While it was a close fight, there was no clear reason for giving Phan the first round, where Garcia out-landed him 3-to-1 and dictated most of the action. The second round was clearly Phan’s, and the third was pretty much a pick-‘em.”

Okay, first of all, the numbers clearly show that Garcia did not out-land Phan 3-to-1 in the first round — just LOL at that shit — and the third round was absolutely not a “pick-’em.” Most of us didn’t need a stats report to figure that out. But more important, I think, is Garcia’s history of consistently winning decisions like this. Against Phan, Chan Sung Jung, and his earlier split-decision win over Jameel Massouh, Garcia has fought through many rounds that could have “gone either way,” as lazy analysts might tell you. And yet the vast majority of those coin-flip rounds go to Garcia. Even when he was dominated by Mark Hominick at WEC 51, one judge actually called the fight for Leonard.

Now why is that? What are MMA judges really looking for when they judge fights, if they’re not looking at striking totals, effective grappling, and overall offensive efficiency? Specifically, why do they love Leonard Garcia so goddamned much? Is it because he throws everything into every one of his shots? Is it because he smiles at his opponents between rounds, pushes forward in the face of abuse, and seems generally unfazed by most of the strikes that land across his chin? Is it because of the loud noises he makes when whiffing those horrible left hooks of his? Do they appreciate that he usually enters round 3 completely gassed, but manages to stagger through to the last bell?

I think the judges in Garcia’s fights see a guy standing in the middle of the Octagon launching power-shot after power-shot and figure that he’s actively trying to finish the fight, no matter if those shots are landing or not. Jabs and body shots just aren’t dramatic enough for the judges, even when they are landing. It’s the new evolution of Stockton Rules — scoring the fight not by who would have won if the fight went on indefinitely, but who would have won if his punches actually landed, hypothetically speaking. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but I don’t know any other way to explain it.


Cagepotato Comments

Showing 1-25 of comments

Sort by : Show hidden comments
Bill C.- December 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm
Ditto on Bisping-Hamill. That right there is the worst bit of highway robbery ever perpetrated in the UFC. I can't believe it took this long in the thread for somebody to bring up that travesty of a decision.
Bisping-Hamill was way, way worse than Machida-Shogun I and Sherk-Dunham. I haven't seen Garcia-Phan yet, so I'll reserve judgment, but it's hard for me to imagine a decision more egregious than the one in Bisping-Hamill.
Tardjitsu- December 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm
While I'm on the subject of effective fighting...i think we can all agree that takedowns that only result in a quick stand up or lay and pray situation without any damage should not be weighed as heavily as it is currently. That being said, I can get how Garcia might eek ahead on the score cards given the rules in effect.
Tardjitsu- December 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm
@clyde I mentioned the Machida - Rampage fight to highlight the difficulty in judging a karate fighter who emphasizes EFFECTIVE striking and evading attacks i.e. back pedaling over volume and aggression.
rudius- December 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm
conspiracy against asians, and i'm not even kidding.
ccman- December 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm
Knowing I am going against many I normally agree with:

Striking... nam. Stats say it. Video shows it. Damage at the end confirms.
Grappling... nam. Half hearted take downs aside... the clinch is grappling. Nam owned that.
Aggession.. rewatch the fight. 2 rounds nam owned the center and initiated most exchanges.
Ring control...... see above
Clyde- December 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Machida Vs Jackson was genuinely close (and I personally think Rampage deserved it), this was not so I'm not sure that's really an argument.

This was just an awful decision though. Garcia's fights are fun to watch for the first round, but the guy needs to learn to pace himself. Greg Jackson must have been banging his head against a wall in that fight. Master strategist be damned in the face of moronic fighter.

Also, very nice Rickey. That could be where they're going wrong.
rickeysays- December 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm
"Striking, grappling, aggression, and octagon control". If you weight these things equally, Garcia won the fight.
Meister574- December 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm
Most other "he got robbed" fights I've seen are usually closer than I thought when I re-watch them. I usually still think X should have won, but can at least see why a judge would think Y won that round.

But after re-watching this fight, the decision was even worse than i thought. I thought Garcia landed more punches when I saw it the first time.

And I agree with Rogan that it is not a corrupt UFC that is the problem. Whatever you think of Dana's business practices, I don't believe they are buying off judges or refs. Like much of what government gets wrong, it's incompetence not conspiracy. But I do not agree that the UFC is powerless to do anything about it. They can threaten to pull events, speak about problems (as they have), and get with other organizations and fight camps and collectively push the NSAC to change.
MKO- December 6, 2010 at 11:47 am
Shit man, I saw Korean Zombie-Garcia as the same, and Sherk-Dunham. Still the only really egregious decisions, in my opinion, were Machida-Shogun 1 and Hamill-Bisping (one of the worst decisions ever).
For everyone who bitches about judging in MMA, boxing can't get it right in their own sport and have been using it for a hundred years. Could be worse.
MKO- December 6, 2010 at 11:42 am
Fightmetric is pure crap for MMA, whatever you think of the decision.
Honestly, I thought the Hendricks-Story decision was worse.
I had round 1 close for Garcia, 2 a dominant one for Phan, and round 3 for Garcia.
29-28 for Garcia wasn't unreasonable. Round one could have easily gone either way; myself and two judges had it Garcia. Round 2 Garcia got his ass kicked; not 10-8 ass kick though. Round 3, Phan didn't really do that much; Garcia was of course busier, Phan landed but not well, backed away the entire round rather than going after the winded Garca, and Garcia's takedown was huge in a close round.
Close fight, but the Garcia win wasn't outside the realm of reasonableness.
dranokills- December 6, 2010 at 11:25 am
MoTropolis Says:
Mon, 12/06/2010 - 19:47

Uh, according to my calculations here, after all the numbers have been processed thru my continuum transfunctioner, uh, carry the one, and you can see indubitably...SHUT THE FUCK UP! Phan lost and Im glad. There is no place in the UFC for someone who has as much experience as Nam and cant find the holes thru a barrage of punches as sloppy as Garcia throws. Phan is a fucking throwaway. I just dont get why people are hype or like to root for this guy.
Mo stop being a tard, its not your style!
Just cause you don't like him doesn't mean he didnt win that fight, nor does it mean he didnt get robbed cause the facts are in, he fucking got hosed. so don't be a dumbass tool like others, it doesn't suit ya.
Tardjitsu- December 6, 2010 at 11:17 am
Another karate black belt gets a controversial loss. Machida - Rampage wasn't that long ago was it? Anyway, calling Nam a throwaway is a little bit of a stretch. I mean, the kid took on a higher profile fighter and the general consensus is that he beat him. What I'm more concerned with us why Nam wasn't able to put Garcia away when he was rocked, and when he was clearly gassed. Is Nam's little Civic gas tank smaller than he thinks? Or does the kid have no idea what blood in the water smells like.
RwilsonR- December 6, 2010 at 11:14 am
@ MoTropolis - LOL! You are quite worked up over everyone getting so worked up about this. That's okay by me. I think Phan is pretty useless, and is going to get thrashed at 145, anyway.

For the record, I actually thought he won all three rounds, and if you look at the fight as a whole, Phan easily won. But I remember wondering out loud in Rd 3 when Phan was just busy dodging Garcia's wild power shots that he needed to get more active, because while I thought he won Rd 1, I could see some jackass judge might give it to Garcia, so Phan shouldn't just rest and play defense through the final round.

It was a BS decision, as was Sherk vs. Dunham. Still, for me, nothing will be worse than Bisping vs. Hamill. Nothing.
Barc- December 6, 2010 at 10:58 am
Well, it sounds like someobody was banking on their fight picks to pay their escort tab in Vegas this weekend. Sorry, Ben. You gotta have a plan b for more than one reason when you ride that train.

All this does is brings the glaring weakness of the 10 point must system in 3 round fights. Leonard Garcia went out and fought like a fat kid at the end of a buffet line. I don't see why you've gotta hate on the dude because the judges got it wrong. I say, fuck it. Get the rematch drawn up, and lets see that shit again. I was thouroughly entertained.

Here's my solution: we need retired fighters as refs and judges in the sport. Active fighters might have a little bit of a conflict of interest, though. What we have is people who know very little of the actual effects of the strikes and positions in the cage, and putting fighters in would solve the problem.
Clue-by-Four- December 6, 2010 at 10:39 am
When you let the fight go into the hands of Cecil Peoples, you never know what you're going to get.
Robots- December 6, 2010 at 10:27 am
It is clear at this point that all the judges care about is the perception of power. You need to throw massive haymakers at head height to win a decision. Cecil Peoples stated outright that he doesn't count leg kicks, I'm pretty sure they don't count jabs anymore either. Basically what you want to do is punch as hard as possible all fight and not get knocked out. You can even be completely ineffective and winded for the majority of the second and third rounds.
Mr.ChandellaPowell- December 6, 2010 at 10:19 am
@ MoTropolis

As far as I can remember, people did bitch about the Dunham/Sherk decision. What I don't get is how Garcia gets two suspect decisions against two different Asian dudes who clearly won their fights. Now now... were any of the judges Viet-Nam or Korean vets by any chance?

Come to think of it, I may be on to something here... Are the judges RACISTS?

WalksInTheDarkness- December 6, 2010 at 9:59 am
@ uzithrasha
A split decision is what happens after a very, very close fought fight. It's what happens after some pretty awesome match making and you have two fighters who are of very similar abilities and it goes the distance.
Personally, I think a fighter should feel worse if he gets 30-27 or less than 27 from all three judges but couldn't get a finish. OSP should have finished Radach on Sunday instead of getting a ridiculously lopsided decision.
Kimbos Bread- December 6, 2010 at 9:34 am
It's a sick joke. The NSAC wants to see how many fights they can let Garcia steal before somebody grabs a chair from the stands and viciously beats the ringside judges to a pulp. They want to be the pro-wrestling equivalent of the "bad guys".
rearnakedchickenchoke- December 6, 2010 at 9:24 am
They don't report backpedals in FightMetric, which I counted Phan out backpedaled Garcia 353 to 25 in round one, threatening Kalib Starnes' record.

Seriously, I thought it would be a split decision and Rogan WAY overreacted. Yeah, Phan should've won, but I don't see how round 1 would go to him with the very few flurries he landed in between backing up and covering up from Garcia's onslaught. I agree with MoTropolis that Phan is a throwaway if he can't get through those wild punches to do something more than he did. And Garcia won't last long in the UFC as this division begins filling up with UFC LWs that decide to drop to a lower weight class to gain a competetive advantage.
Get Off Me- December 6, 2010 at 9:18 am
You are my fucking hero today.
I even wrote a guest column(that got the cutting room floor treatment) about how bad the Sherk v. Dunham decision was. Dunham had 7 sub attempts, Sherk had a grand total of 5 takedowns and was outstruck 2 to 1 by Dunham over the 3 rounds.

Go look at the fightmetric for Dunham/Sherk, solid elbows landed by Sherk? More like one elbow early in the first....guess you took a piss break during the third round of that fight too if you think it was close.
DazedNConfused- December 6, 2010 at 9:06 am
Dunham and Sherk was much closer I think. I agree Dunham won, but Sherk atleast had some takedowns and solid elbows. I would definitely say this decision was worse than both Dunham/Sherk and Machida/Shogun 1. Both of those were a lot close in my opinion. Garcia threw a lot of punches but almost all were effectively blocked or evaded. Garcia was more tired, threw less and less effectively, had two shitty takedowns that didn't do anything and was picked apart pretty much the whole fight. His face at the end of the fight showed that even HE knew he lost.

Dunham/Sherk and Machida/Shogun were definitely bigger decisions because they were worth more in terms of rankings and publicity, especially Shogun/Machida. This fight really doesn't matter, Nam is going to get another fight, it isn't his first loss, it's just as good as winning for the kid. It's just sad how there's so many of these shitty decisions occurring, enough where I'm even starting to justify other bad decisions. Ugh haha.
MoTropolis- December 6, 2010 at 8:49 am
If you wanna bitch about a bad decision, let take it back to Dunham vs Sherk. You fucking crybabies didnt whine half this much for that horrible call.
MoTropolis- December 6, 2010 at 8:47 am
Uh, according to my calculations here, after all the numbers have been processed thru my continuum transfunctioner, uh, carry the one, and you can see indubitably...SHUT THE FUCK UP! Phan lost and Im glad. There is no place in the UFC for someone who has as much experience as Nam and cant find the holes thru a barrage of punches as sloppy as Garcia throws. Phan is a fucking throwaway. I just dont get why people are hype or like to root for this guy.
LOKI- December 6, 2010 at 8:45 am
Possible explaination for this and the Korean Zombie fight:

Garcia is BFFs with Donald Cilantronio, Donald is banging Brittney Palmer, Brittney promises the judges head if they ignore how the fight actually unfolds and just show the already filled out scorecards before the opening bell.