LAS VEGAS – Leonard Garcia still has a job, and perhaps emphatically so, despite another loss.
Garcia (15-10-1 MMA, 2-6 UFC) on Saturday dropped a split decision to Max Holloway (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at UFC 155, his fourth straight setback. But after the fight, UFC President Dana White said Garcia's job is secure.
"Sean Shelby, one of our matchmakers, came to me during the fights tonight and said, 'Dana, I don't want to cut this guy,'" White said. "And I said, 'There's no way in hell we're cutting Leonard Garcia.'"
The support from White and Shelby comes on the heels of yet another exciting fight for Garcia, whose swing-for-the-fences-style has long made him a fan favorite.
Three straight UFC losses typically gets a fighter a pink slip. A fourth is almost a guarantee, though in the recent past exceptions have been made beyond just Garcia. Dan Hardy lost four straight fights, but had the support of White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta because of his style of always coming to fight.
Garcia said he believed he did enough to win on Saturday in the fight with Holloway, which took place on the preliminary card of UFC 155 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight streamed on Facebook before additional prelims on FX and a main card on pay-per-view.
"I think I did enough to win and it was a good fight, but I can't let it go to the judges," Garcia said. "I've been fighting long enough to know that. Max is a skilled fighter, but I feel I was able to match him or be better than him in every part of the game. I feel I got the most takedowns, I had better octagon control and he doesn't hit hard, so I was able to stand in there with him and I think that should have been enough to get the victory."
Garcia, who trains at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., has had a rough run the past four years or so. Since a first-round "Knockout of the Night" win over Jens Pulver at WEC 36 in November 2008, Garcia has gone 3-7-1.
His three wins in that stretch all have been by split decision, and split calls over Nam Phan and Chan Sung Jung were controversial, to say the least. Both led to eventual rematches, both of which he lost in 2011.
But for now, it appears Garcia will get one more shot.