Kevin “Pokey” Burns feels bad about his victory via sticking his fingers in Anthony Johnson‘s eyes back in July. Anthony Johnson also feels bad about it, which is why he appealed the decision in a losing effort. But now Burns says he wants a rematch with Johnson in order to “make it right”:
“I guess what’s really going to be the true-tell sign at the end of the day is when we meet in the cage again, and we have a chance to compete against each other. Then the fans will get to see what they wanted to see, and we’ll get to make it right.”
“I hated more the way the fight ended than probably Anthony did,” Burns said. “It didn’t really come up to par. I’m not that kind of competitor. I would have rather been knocked out, personally, than to win like that.”
While you have to appreciate the old Don Frye ‘let’s do it again, brother’ sentiment, I’m not so sure that Burns really hated it more than Johnson did. Johnson, let’s not forget, had to have eye surgery to repair a detached retina as a result of the debacle. He also still has the loss on his record.
Burns says he’s been taking some heat from fans for the win and wants to clear the air about some of the rumors that have been flying about him:
“I think there was some misconception from that night,” Burns said. “My hand, I could make a closed fist. I just didn’t have the ability to hit with it because the bone wasn’t fused completely. It was to a point where I could grab just fine. I could do a lot. I could probably hit something with a close fist. But pretty much the second I hit something remotely solid, it was going to be really, really broken again.
“It was just a thing where [the bones] wouldn’t fuse. I had been wearing a bone stimulator, and my doctor said, ‘If you can not have that impact, then you should be good to go.’ So I completely adjusted my game and started throwing palm strikes — which is an extreme disadvantage. I did what I had to do competing-wise.”
“I read a couple of the blogs online,” Burns admitted. “I kind of laughed to myself. They were like, ‘It’s an extreme advantage that he was able to palm strike.’ I’m like, ‘Then why isn’t everybody doing it?’”
I wouldn’t call Burns’ palm strikes an advantage, but I would call his open-hand poking style a definite disadvantage to his opponent. That’s not even the point, though. The point is, if my doctor told me that I should under no circumstances punch a solid object really hard with my fist, I’d probably think to myself, ‘Well, there goes fighting professionally for a little while.’
We all know that the UFC’s lower-tier guys have to get in where they fit in, injuries or no, but being completely unable to punch with a closed fist is not like a sprained ankle.
Burns says the bones in his hand are now fused and he can start punching people properly now, which is good news all around. Hopefully the UFC makes this rematch happen soon so we can see what an infuriated “Rumble” Johnson is capable of when he doesn’t have someone’s fingers all up in his eyes.