The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale Fight of the Night winners Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia delivered not only one of the most entertaining bouts of the evening, but also one of the most controversial.
The two featherweights battled it out for three full rounds, with the judges nod going controversially to Garcia. By most all accounts, Phan controlled the fight and landed the cleaner and more effective strikes, while Garcia lost steam and a step, throwing his wild haymakers through it all.
Reactions to the fight have been drastic and Garcia’s style has been criticized/insulted by more than one person in resulting discussions. Speaking with MMAFighting.com’s Ben Fowlkes recently, Garcia defended himself and his victory.
“I think I outscored him in the first and third rounds,” Garcia told Fowlkes, after reviewing the fight. “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.”
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan criticized the judges’ decision heavily during the live broadcast and Garcia has taken issue with his denouncement.
“It does piss me off, because I have nothing to do with the decision. I have nothing to do with that. The only thing I can control is what I do in the fight. Dead tired, most people, they have that thing in their bodies that tells them, ‘I’m too tired, so I’m just going to give up.’ I don’t have that. I go in there and I’m still trying to end the fight in the third round. So it does, it bothers me to hear him say some of that stuff he said. It’s kind of a bad deal, but all it’s going to do is fire me up for the next one.”
In regards to the controversy surrounding the judges’ decision, Garcia acknowledges that the fight was close enough to warrant a rematch and that he is willing to take that fight immediately.
“I’ve made it real clear to them that that’s a fight I’m 100% interested in right now,” Garcia said of the rematch. “That’s all I can do. I can ask for it and keep asking for it, and every interview I do I’m telling people that I want that rematch, so I’m doing my part. He deserves to fight the best Leonard Garcia, and he didn’t get the best Leonard Garcia that night. He got an out-of-shape, 3 ½ weeks notice Leonard Garcia. …I feel like he deserves a rematch and I deserve to have a full camp to fight him.”