It's truly inexplicable. By all rights, Leonard Garcia should be 0-7 in his last seven bouts. Instead, amazingly, he's 3-3-1. Five of his last six fights have gone to a split decision, each one a neatly wrapped gift from ignorant judges, lovely presents for Garcia that had to make the routine ass kickings a little less painful. In one of the best fights of the year he got shellacked by the average Korean fighter Chan Sung Jung. Somehow he won a split decision. Tonight he was beat to the punch by Nam Phan, the Ultimate Fighter and K-1 veteran who had no problems with Garcia's wild and looping punches. Yet, once again, Garcia had his hand raised at the end. Even Garcia didn't believe he won the fight.
"I had it for Nam too. I got a couple of takedowns, but he beat me in the standup," Garcia told the booing crowd. "I'll come back to fight Nam again. That's all I can say. I'm sorry Joe. I'm sorry. I called it the same thing."
As the crowd chanted "Bullshit, bullshit" and announcer Joe Rogan very publicly criticized the decision, I journeyed to Wikipedia. Surely, I thought, Garcia must have some sweet blackmail material on Nevada's Keith Kizer. That would explain judges being in the Greg Jackson trained fighter's pocket. But that wasn't it. Garcia has won bad decisions in four states. So what is it about Garcia that grabs the judge's attention?
The answer is mediocrity. Garcia is just not a good fighter. He backs straight up when he should circle, throws every punch like it was his last, and always gasses out before 15 minutes are up. But there's nothing subtle about him. Everything he throws has the worst intentions, wild and winging hooks that are very dramatic. Even when they don't score cleanly, you can't help but notice. Garcia also smiles the fight away. Even when he's getting creamed, like he was against Phan in the second round, he gets creamed with a smile on his face.
The judges, as discussed ad nauseum, don't understand some of the techniques that make up a mixed martial arts fight. But everybody understands big punches - and that's something Garcia delivers in spades. One thing is certain: if you're fighting Garcia Dana White's words of wisdom have never been more true. Don't let the f*cking fight go to the f*cking judges.