LFA 163 Ends With Controversial Submission Finish In Main Event (Video)

The LFA 163 main event was stopped by referee Joel Ojeda without Elijah Johns tapping out or going to sleep from his opponent's submission. 

LFA 163
Javier Garcia submitting Elijah Johns at LFA 163 (Left and Right)(Images via Twitter @UFCFightPass)

LFA 163 ended in controversy after the referee prematurely stopped the main event. 

On Friday, July 21, LFA held a nine-fight event inside the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas. The last bout of the night was a vacant featherweight title matchup between Javier Garcia and Elijah Johns. Both fighters had their moments before the controversial ending in round two. 

With less than thirty seconds in round two, Garcia locked in an arm triangle choke and began squeezing. Johns seemed to be struggling momentarily, leading to referee Joel Ojeda stopping the fight. Unfortunately, Ojeda misread the situation as Johns quickly reacted with frustration because he didn’t tap or get put to sleep. 

Once the video surfaced on social media, the MMA community showed support for Ojeda. The harsh reality is that the regional MMA scene is difficult to overcome, and any loss is a significant setback for fighters attempting to sign with a top-tier promotion. 

Johns’ loss at LFA 163 ended his two-fight winning streak. The 27-year-old now holds a professional MMA record of 9-3. Luckily, he still has time to turn things around and reach his full potential in the UFC, Bellator, ONE Championship, PFL, etc. 

Meanwhile, Garcia took a massive step in the right direction. The 31-year-old is riding a three-fight win streak and has the LFA featherweight title as leverage to sign with another promotion. It’ll be intriguing to see if he defends his LFA throne or gets a bigger opportunity for his next fight. 

LFA 163 was not the first controversial referee decision by a Texas referee in 2023

Joel Ojeda’s mistake at LFA 163 could’ve been the product of a different controversial Texas referee decision earlier this year. On March 24, Fury FC 76 also ended on a sour note after the main event featured a critical blunder by referee Frank Collazo.

The main event was a flyweight bout between Edgar Chairez and Gianni Vazquez. During the fourth round, Chairez locked in a triangle choke, leading to Vazquez going unconscious for several seconds. Collazo didn’t realize what happened until Chairez transitioned to the armbar, making Vazquez wake up and tap.

Since then, the Texas athletic commission has been ridiculed for what happened. Therefore, the situation in March could’ve led to Ojeda pulling the trigger early at LFA 163 to prevent another incident.

Published on July 23, 2023 at 10:26 pm
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