In what stands as a gross oversight on either the UFC’s or the Michigan State Athletic Commission’s part, the first round of Maiquel Falcao vs. Gerald Harris was cut short by eight seconds. While the extra few seconds at the end of the round might not always be significant, in this case it was likely the difference between a first round victory for Falcao or the three round decision that had fans snoozing by the last frame.
A Chute Boxe product, Falcao was making his Octagon debut against Harris and showed flashes of brilliance before cutting off all offense in the third round–drawing criticism from the MMA community and his new employers. However, Falcao put Harris in trouble more than once with both strikes and submissions and was close to finishing the fight with a rear naked choke before the horn signaling the end of the round was blown eight seconds prematurely.
Falcao had hurt Harris and was moving in for the kill, taking his opponent’s back and sinking the choke in deeply. A wincing Harris seemed to be on his way out and Falcao held onto the choke for dear life in the first round’s waning seconds. Then, at the eight second mark, the on-screen clock disappeared and one second later the horn sounded. Falcao kept cranking away on the choke, earning himself admonition from referee Dan Miragliotta and a healthy dose of criticism from the MMA community. While Falcao still earned the win, what could have been a star-making turn was reduced to something much less–due to both Falcao’s third round hesitance and the first round timing error.
The prematurely ended first round is an example of a problem the UFC should never have, and should take pains to ensure never happens again.