UFC 123, Maiquel Falcao and the Case of the Missing Six Seconds

Josh NasonSenior Analyst INovember 22, 2010

Maiquel Falcao would have liked that six seconds back.
Maiquel Falcao would have liked that six seconds back.

A lot can happen in six seconds.

In UFC middleweight Maiquel Falcao's case, six seconds was enough to take away a potential award of $80,000.

In a completely overlooked and unacknowledged mistake by announcers Mike Goldberg,  Joe Rogan, or anyone else post-fight, the horn for the first round of Falcao's fight against Gerald Harris went off six seconds early.

In most fights, this would be considered a sloppy oversight. How the round ended makes this a bit more than that.

With 15 seconds to go in the round, Falcao secured Harris in a rear naked choke and had it clamped on tight. While it looked like Harris came close to tapping, he held on but had that been applied for another six seconds, the fight likely would have been over.

Instead, the bout went two more rounds—and a dreadful third—and Falcao earned a victory that was received as lackluster by UFC brass.

The cage-side timekeeper is not assigned by the UFC, but by Michigan's Unarmed Combat Commission that oversees MMA and boxing events in the state. As of 7 p.m. Monday night, an email to the Commission on the matter had not been returned.

The Issues

  • Falcao lost out on a potential submission win and a great chance at the $80k Submission of the Night bonus. He did have two more rounds to secure it, but sometimes you only get one shot.
  • No one noticed the error except for some people on Twitter. Even I didn't notice it immediately until I went back and researched it. A round ending early is a one percent occurrence at best, but would we notice if happened more often?

    At worst, the Commission has to acknowledge the error and take measures so it cannot happen again.
  • The UFC lost out on the ability to build off a great win by a hot new prospect. Instead, Falcao went from impressive first round submission victor to bland decision winner that now has something to prove in his next fight.

At the end of the night, Falcao still left a winner, which is a fate better than other fighters faced that night. But I'm sure he'd love to have that six seconds back.

Josh Nason is a New England-based freelance MMA journalist that covers live events, has written for FIGHT! Magazine and frequently does radio/podcast appearances. He asks for your "like" for ESPN Boston to cover MMA. Follow him on Twitter.