TUF 12 Finale Results: Garcia Defeats Phan In Highly Controversial Split Decision

December 4, 2010
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Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan

Garcia vs. Phan

The first televised featherweight fight in UFC history lived up to the billing as Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia went to war for three rounds, but in the end the judges may have put yet another black mark on an otherwise stellar fight.

Phan dropped back down to his natural weight of 145lbs since being eliminated on the final episode of the “Ultimate Fighter” season 12, and didn’t disappoint in his official Octagon debut, but somehow the judges scored the fight in a split decision nod for his opponent Leonard Garcia.

Showing tremendous discipline against a highly unorthodox opponent, Phan used controlled punches to the body and a mix of straight punches to keep Garcia guessing for all 15 minutes. Garcia came out like a hurricane in each round, but faded as the minutes passed, just losing steam with the haymakers he unloaded trying to put Phan away.

In the 2nd round, Phan dropped Garcia with wicked series of lefts and rights, before almost locking on a fight ending rear naked choke. By the end of the fight, Garcia’s midsection was absolutely tattooed from body shots absorbed by Phan’s attack.

It seemed like a no brainer for the decision, but much like Tyson Griffin and Evan Dunham can tell Phan after the fight, when the judges get involved anything can and likely will happen. Two judges saw the fight 29-28 for Garcia, while a lone judge scored the fight 30-27 for Phan.

A stunned look washed over Phan as he saw his UFC debut come to a screeching hault.

“I was thinking Asian brother can’t get no love,” Phan said describing his emotions at the time the judges’ decision was read. “Nothing to take away from Leonard, but I thought I won all three rounds.”

He may have won the fight, but even Leonard Garcia agreed with the boisterous crowd in attendance in Las Vegas as they booed loudly at the highly controversial decision.

“I’m sorry, I called it the same thing,” Garcia shouted to the crowd. “I’ll rematch Nam again and let you guys decide next time.”

The judges once again proved that MMA has a long way to go before scoring can be legitimized, with several decisions ending in extremely controversial fashion over just the last few major events. Garcia will still celebrate a win, but Phan deservedly should get another shot at the New Mexico based fighter at some point down the road.

  • bigdaddySLO

    Nam Phan’s loss to Garcia is an unbelievable travesty of refereeing. It simply shows that finding good judges for this emerging sports is going to take time. One method though is to fire bad judges from the big leagues of MMA like UFC and Strikeforce, and send them back to local Indian casinos where they belong. The two judges that voted for Leonard Garcia, who I like, should be removed from the UFC until they prove themselves for 3 years in the minor leagues. They obviously don’t have a clue.

  • jds13

    “The two judges that voted for Leonard Garcia, who I like, should be removed from the UFC”

    Unfortunately, the UFC has ZERO say in the judging because they arent a part of the UFC…they are with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. I can’t believe the judging on this one though. ANYONE could see how dominate Phan was. Look at the UFC official striking stats.

    Phan = 102
    Garcia = 64

    He dominated him. The only thing Garcia did to Phan was take him down twice and he did zero damage while Phan quickly got back to his feet. These judges should hang their heads in shame. That is absolutely pathetic.

  • Joe did an excellent job of verbally assaulting the judges who scored that fight for Garcia. I think he summed up how most of us feel about the current status of MMA judging. Hopefully Kizer, Dodd and the rest of the commission heads wake up and take a serious look at the state of judging, Right now it’s a complete joke.

  • Who were the judges? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Cecil Peoples was one of them. Wild guess……….

  • Found Rogan’s tirade on another site. Well done Joe!

    “I don’t think the last fight was close and the decision went the wrong way. It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on fighters not knowing what kind of officiating you’re getting. It’s gross. You should be able to leave it in the hands of the judges. You should be able to just fight. And we should point out, that is the situation because of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It has nothing to do with the UFC. People keep saying ‘oh the UFC!’ We have no say whatsoever. And (NSAC executive director) Keith Kizer has denied that there’s an issue. I think (Kizer) needs to clean house. There’s a few very good judges surrounded by a bunch of incompetent morons, who know nothing about the sport. They need to do something about that, because it’s ruining MMA. It’s making people think that this sport is corrupt. It has nothing to do with corruption. It’s sheer and total incompetence.”

  • I had picked Nam Phan to win this season from the first episode so I was glad to see him do well against such an established fighter. Too bad it officially goes down as a loss…

  • ShockednAwed

    Truth is, there’s no answer to officiating problems at the end of the day.

    Judges, even highly-trained ones, make subjective calls against the majority. Referees, even the best ones, don’t see everything – and fans of other pro sports that have added extra officials (European Championship-level soccer and NHL hockey were the latest) can attest it hasn’t helped eliminate errors.

    Video replays could/should help wipe out mistakes for the refs, but in a sport like MMA, it could be a case of too little, too late (like, with a missed tap, for example).

    Perhaps it’s the necessity for an immediate decision that’s the problem… what if a fight ending without a stoppage goes to review, with a decision announced the next day? Sure, it takes away from that emotional moment, but if it meant more decisions like this one went the right way, would it be worth it?

    In my opinion, I’d like to see the commission introduce something like that, or just declare these fights drawn with a provision for an auto-rematch.