by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Most of the time mixed martial arts events go smoothly. Minus a few small snags, most shows go off without a hitch, but occasionally there is controversy.
Such was the case at the July 19 Ultimate Fighting Championships’ Fight Night 14 event at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During the welterweight bout between Anthony “Rumble” Johnson and Kevin Burns, it had appeared as if Johnson was well on his way to earning a decision victory over Burns when with just over a minute and a half left in the third and final round, circumstances came together to cost Anthony the fight.
After an exchange on the ground, the two fighters were stood back up. Kevin struck Anthony in the head, and Johnson fell to the ground, in obvious pain. Thinking it was a clean strike the referee declared the fight in Burns’ favor via TKO, but the replay showed otherwise.
What apparently happened was that Anthony was struck in the eye by a finger, with the strike not actually landing beyond that point of contact.
With Johnson’s camp currently busy protesting the fight’s outcome, the UFC welterweight spoke the match-up, as well as gave an update on the condition of his eye.
“I had surgery.” he said. “It was pretty intense for me.”
“My retina was damaged, possibly detached, and the laceration was pretty long. It was basically from one end of my eye to the other. They did laser surgery that took about two hours, put some stitches on it basically.”
As for when he will possibly be returning to action, Anthony replied, “The doctor said I should be back in the September. So, hopefully you’ll get to see me do my thing in September or October.”
“Everything should be fine. I’ll go back soon (for a check-up) and they’ll just make sure that I don’t have any infections.”
When it comes to the fight, Johnson says there is no ill will between he and Burns, however, he is concerned about future safety issues due to Burns’ inability to close his hand into a fist.
“I told my agent, Ken Pavia, I have nothing against Kevin; but personally I don’t want him to fight again until he gets his hands fixed,” he commented. “I don’t want any other fighter to go through what I went through.”
“I don’t think it’s cool that he fought with his hands like that. It put himself and others that he’s competing with in danger. Just look at me. I can accept a loss, but I can’t accept a loss or the consequence of someone else’s wrong doing in a fight like that.”
Since the fight, the general reaction Johnson is getting from people has been nothing but positive on his behalf.
“I’ve had fans support me,” he said. “Even the lady at the eye doctor’s office recognized me and told me I got robbed and it was a bad eye poke.”
“Everybody’s been saying that I showed a lot of class and respect for that to happen to me. A lot of people are saying if that happened to them, they would have raised hell; but raising hell wouldn’t have done anything but made me look bad, so I do whatever I have to do to make myself and the sport look good.”
Regardless of the eventual outcome of his petitioning the result of his fight, Anthony is looking forward to getting back into action as soon as he heals, and he believes the UFC wants the same.
“Definitely, you’ll see me get another shot,” he exclaimed. “I don’t think they would want to get rid of somebody that goes out there and gives it his all and puts on a show for the fans and respects the sport like I do.”
“Not a lot of guys will go out there and lay it on the line for 15 minutes, so I think you have to respect someone like that and give them a shot when they deserve it.”
With an upbeat attitude and an ever-improving skill set, it won’t be long before Anthony Johnson puts this incident behind him and continues on his way towards putting on exciting fights and making an impact in the welterweight division.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors, Tapout and KNOXX; the UFC, the fans, Royal Bloodline Generation and MMAWeekly,” he concluded. “Thanks to everyone that’s supported me.”
“I even thank the people that think that I faked it and I gassed it. Thanks for your opinion too. It will just make me a better fighter the next time you see me. I’m just glad I’m still here and able to talk to you guys and let you know how I feel and giving you updates on me, thank you all.”