There aren’t many fighters that can lose four consecutive bouts in the Octagon and remain on the roster come sun-up the day after number four. Dan Hardy is one of the only other fighters that come to mind.
When the sun rises Sunday morning, however, Leonard Garcia will join him on the short list, despite losing a three-round split decision to Max Holloway at UFC 155 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Garcia, in typical fashion, left everything he had in the Octagon, throwing caution to the wind to slug it out with Holloway throughout the fight. Garcia has lost a lot of fights due to his ultra-aggressive style, taking much more punishment than he should if he would stick to a more technically sound game plan, but what fun would that be?
In Garcia’s book, it wouldn’t be fun at all. He loves to fight, and he loves to fight in his trademark reckless style, wins and losses be damned.
That attitude led to Garcia’s fourth consecutive defeat, it has also endeared him to his not only fans, but his employers as well.
“Sean Shelby, one of our matchmakers, came to me during the fight sometime and, I guess Leonard Garcia was in a situation to be cut if he lost tonight, and (Shelby) came to me and said, ‘Dana, I don’t wanna cut this guy,’” UFC president Dana White recounted at the UFC 155 post-fight press conference, before adding emphatically, “I said there’s no way in Hell we’re cutting Leonard Garcia!”
There will be doubters out there that believe Garcia should be released, if only to remain true to the sporting aspect of the fight game, but the UFC followed the same approach with Dan Hardy.
He lost four consecutive fights, but was granted a stay of execution, and has since won back-to-back bouts.
When fighters are often decried for being boring and not taking enough risks in the Octagon, Leonard Garcia is one of the few that puts it all on the line every time out, and on this day, he’s being rewarded for his never say die approach.