UFC President, Dana White, Backs Nam Phan After Controversial “Loss”
The Ultimate Fighter 12 contestant, Nam Phan, finally made his UFC debut December 7, 2010 resulting in a disappointing and very controversial loss. Phan’s UFC debut was in a featherweight fight against UFC veteran Leonard Garcia.
Garcia (15-6-1) stands 5’9” weighing in at 145 with a reach of 69 inches (180 cm) is a very well-matched opponent to Phan (16-8-0) who stands 5’6” weighing in at 150 with a reach of 69 inches (180 cm). Phan was declared loser by a split decision. Most who have seen the fight feel that judges’ rulings were unjust and that the fight should be looked at again. Phan, however, does not hold a grudge and told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani during The MMA Hour that he believes the defeat could actually be a good thing for his career. “It’s almost a blessing in disguise. It 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.” (FightLine.com)
With crisp and clean boxing, Phan definitely overpowered Garcia in the opening round. Phan almost ended the round twice a rear-naked choke near the end of the frame. As the end of the fight draws near in the final round, Garcia continually throws attacks at Phan despite his exhaustion, but Phan’s hard body punches, that he is known for, got the best of Garcia as Garcia’s hands dropped to his sides. Despite the obvious win by Phan, the judges Adalaide Byrd and Tony Weeks scored the fight 29-28 in Garcia’s favor. The only judge who saw all three rounds as Phan’s was Junichiro Kamijo—but he was not enough for a win.
Dana White came by backstage and told me, ‘You’re getting your win bonus because you won that fight.’
Those who know the sport especially well stand behind Phan and still declare him as the winner of the fight, even though that opinion is unofficial. Surprisingly enough, UFC President Dana White was so angered with what he believes to be an unfair verdict, himself. He decided to award Phan “the winner’s purse,” despite the “official” decision. Phan tells FightLine.com, “Dana White came by backstage and told me, ‘You’re getting your win bonus because you won that fight.’ 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.” (FightLine.com)
If UFC president, White, really stands behind Phan and believes the fight verdict was bogus, why doesn’t he throw out the decision?