The Ultimate Fighter 12 contestant Nam Phan made his UFC debut this past weekend in a featherweight bout against UFC/WEC vet Leonard Garcia. Phan was ruled the loser by split decision, but the verdict was rendered with much controversy. Most who have seen the fight agree that Phan did more than enough to secure victory and that it the bout’s ruling represents another unfortunate judges’ ruling. However, Phan recently told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani during The MMA Hour that he believes the defeat could actually prove to be a good thing for his career.
“It’s almost a blessing in disguise,” Phan told Helwani. “It almost made me more popular. I really appreciate the support from the MMA community, especially the UFC and Dana White. Everyone from the UFC had my back, and I really appreciate that.”
UFC President Dana White was so angered with what he perceived to be an unfair verdict that he awarded Phan the winner’s purse anyway, in addition to a Fight of the Night bonus. Phan commented on White’s gesture.
“Dana white came by backstage and told me, ‘You’re getting your win bonus because you won that fight,’ ” he said. “I thought business is business, and I just thought if I lost, I lost, and I would only get my base pay. That’s how it usually goes. But the UFC – Dana White takes care of the fighters. I really appreciate that.”
All in all, Phan is not too upset with the negative mark on his record. He told Helwani that he is comforted by the fact that most everyone who has seen the bout has criticized the judges’ decision–especially in the cases of White and his opponent.
“I don’t feel too bad,” Phan said. “The whole Asian community and the MMA community thought I won. I think Leonard and (Garcia coach) Greg Jackson think I won. In the end, I got my win bonus and Fight of the Night, and Dana White and the UFC thought I won. In the end, it wasn’t too bad.”