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Tag: Anthony Johnson

Exclusive Interview: Kevin Burns Talks Eye-Poke Fiasco and Saturday Night’s Rematch with Anthony Johnson


(Photo courtesy of NBC Sports.)

The first meeting between Kevin Burns and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was marred by an accidental eye poke that halted the bout midway through the third round.  It was an unsatisfying end for both men, as Johnson would need surgery for a damaged retina and Burns found himself with a victory that he couldn’t really enjoy.

As the two prepare for a rematch to settle the score at Saturday night’s "Ultimate Fighter Finale," Burns talks with us about his decision to fight with the injured hand, his perspective on the eye pokes, and what he thinks of the attention the strange bout has brought upon himself and Johnson.

Check back later today for an interview with Johnson, who gives his often very different perspective on the events of that night.

CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Kevin.  Coming into this rematch, how do you mentally approach a fight like this, under these strange circumstances?

Mentally I’m approaching it like I would any other fight.  I’ve been in the cage with Anthony so I kind of know what to expect, I know what he’s going to bring to the table.  Other than from a game plan prospective, I’m not approaching it any differently.  Now I can utilize all of my standup skills.  Now that my hand’s 100% I can actually throw a left jab, a left hook, things that I haven’t been able to do.  That may make things a little different for him, but it will be good for me.

Tell me about the situation with the hand.  What happened to it?

I broke my hand three times in sixteen months.  The bone wasn’t completely fused, but if it was any other person doing normal things, not doing what we do, you probably wouldn’t notice it.  I can lift weights, I can do pretty much anything, with the exception of hitting something solid.  If I had hit something solid at that point, I had about a 95% chance that the bone would have fractured back through and I would have been back to square one.  

So instead of delaying my fighting career I decided to take a page out of Bas Rutten’s book in the old Pancrase days in Japan and use palm strikes.  They did it successfully, so I figured why can’t I?  I threw a lot of successful palm strikes earlier in the fight.  I couldn’t throw a closed jab, so I had to use that.  Unfortunately my finger went into his eye in that last palm strike that I threw in the third round.

The one in the third round ended it, but it seemed like there were several other pokes leading up to that one.  Where you aware of those, and did you feel it when it happened the last time?

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Fitch/Gono Slated for UFC 94, Aurelio Cut + More UFC Quick Hits

Jon Fitch Diego Sanchez MMA UFC
(When Jon Fitch says he’s going to wear your ass like a hat, it’s not a threat — it’s a guarantee.)

According to a report on MMA Mania, Jon Fitch will begin his road back to title contention with a fight against Akihiro Gono at UFC 94 (January 31st, Las Vegas). Fitch, who most recently dropped a unanimous decision to welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre at UFC 87 in August, was previously scheduled to face Gono in March, but a hand injury forced “The Japanese Sensation” to drop out of the match; Gono went on to lose a decision to Dan Hardy at last month’s UFC 89. The UFC’s Super Bowl weekend card will be headlined by Fitch’s old nemesis GSP facing BJ Penn, as well as Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva.

In other UFC news…

— Apparently back-to-back losses were enough to get Marcus Aurelio‘s contract shredded. Five Ounces of Pain reports that the American Top Team fighter has been let go following unanimous decision defeats at the hands of Tyson Griffin (at UFC 86) and Hermes Franca (at UFC 90). Though Aurelio has had an impressive career and holds victories over Takanori Gomi, Masakazu Imanari, and Rich Clementi, he leaves the Octagon with a 2-3 UFC record.

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Spooky Friday Link Dump


(I’m going to guess…Moses the golfer?)

- Michael Wilbon is Kimbo Slice for Halloween. (MMA Fanhouse)

- Back on internet radio, along with Ariel Helwani and Steve Cofield. (MMA Rated)

- And 1 sponsors Nate Quarry. (NBC Sports)

- Anthony Johnson talks eye-pokes, rematch, and Steve Mazzagatti. (FightHype)

- A cartoon eulogy for Jared Shaw. (Fightlinker)

- Vinny Magalhaes tries to talk his way out of being Big Nog’s enemy. (MMA Weekly)

- Nick Diaz files notice to get free of EliteXC. (Gracie Fighter)

- Best lines from the worst movie. (Holy Taco)

- Out of control stock traders. (Wall Street Fighter)

- 16 bad guys we’d rather see win. (Screen Junkies)

- Long-haired kid gets serious ass-kicking. (Nothing Toxic)

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Burns/Johnson Rematch Set for TUF 8 Finale

Kevin Burns Anthony Johnson UFC MMA
(Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

Finally, a little goddamned justice around here. MMA Junkie reports that Kevin Burns and Anthony Johnson — whose first fight at July’s “Silva vs. Irvin” event ended in a controversial TKO win for Burns after Johnson dropped in pain due to repeated eye-pokes — will get a do-over at the Ultimate Fighter 8 finale (December 13th, location TBA). Both fighters have agreed to the fight and it should be finalized in the next few days.

Burns was suffering from a hand injury at the time of his first meeting with Johnson, and was unable to strike with a closed fist, which led to his fingers finding their way into Johnson’s eyeball several times. As if the laser surgery and stitches required to fix his detached retina wasn’t agonizing enough, Johnson recently lost an appeal filed with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to have his loss to Burns overturned. So this is really good news. The only question is, will Steve Mazzagatti be reffing the rematch as well? Nah, too risky…

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Kevin Burns Wants Another Shot at Anthony Johnson


(‘I’m just saying, the guy has two eyes. Why wouldn’t I want a rematch?’)

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:

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Anthony Johnson Loses Appeal; Loss Via Eye-Pokes Will Stand

Anthony Johnson Kevin Burns UFC MMA
(Kevin Burns shows off his flawless gouging technique. Photo courtesy of UFC.com.)

It’s probably not the way he wanted to make UFC history, but Anthony Johnson has officially become the first fighter to lose a fight in the Octagon via eye-pokes. After being handed an idiotic TKO loss at July’s “Silva vs. Irvin” card against Kevin Burns — who poked Johnson in the eyes multiple times throughout their fight until Rumble collapsed to the mat in agony during the third round — Johnson filed an appeal with the Nevada State Athletic Commission to have the result overturned to a DQ victory, or at least a no-contest. Unfortunately, it was rejected:

“Based on advice from the Nevada Attorney General’s office, the appeal was rejected due to lack of remedy,” Kizer revealed to MMAFrenzy.com.

Horseshit. Are they saying they have no way of changing results after the fact? That Steve Mazzagatti‘s decisions can never be overruled by a higher authority? Johnson had to undergo laser surgery to repair a detached retina and needed stitches in his eye — it would have been nice for the NSAC to acknowledge that they don’t condone what he had to go through. Still, Johnson has managed to keep a positive attitude through the entire experience. As he told TAGG Radio, “They can keep the loss on my record if they want to because I know I will come back better and stronger next time.”

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Mazzagatti to Anthony Johnson: “Oops, My Bad”

Mazzagatti Rumble Johnson UFC EliteXC MMA
(Steve Mazzagatti hangin’ ringside with Anthony “Two Face” Johnson.)

According to Fightline.com, EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” show was the site of a very touching reconciliation, as Anthony “Rumble” Johnson buried the hatchet with the man responsible for turning what should have been a DQ victory at “UFC: Silva vs. Irvin” into a TKO loss. As the story goes:

…Johnson approached Mazzagatti at ringside during last night’s event. Mazzagatti and Johnson shook hands and hugged. Mazzagatti apologized to Johnson and noted that it was “a bad call” and Johnson immediately accepted, saying it was all good.

If you’ll recall, Kevin Burns repeatedly poked Johnson in the eye during their match, leading to a serious retinal injury that would later require surgery; Mazzagatti awarded Burns the win when Johnson couldn’t continue. Rumble’s surgery was pretty grisly, apparently, though it was ultimately a success. As he told MMA Weekly:

“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. 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…

I have nothing against Kevin; but personally I don’t want him to fight again until he gets his hands fixed. 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.”

We’ll let you know when Shayna Baszler forgives Steve for making Cristiane Cyborg knock her out twice.

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How’s Taste My Link Dump?

Silva vs. Irvin afterparty UFC
(One of these men fought Anderson Silva on Saturday — can you tell which one? Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.)

Affliction’s next show will maybe be held on November 8th, maybe in Atlantic City, and Aleksander Emelianenko maybe doesn’t have hepatitis. (MMA Junkie)

Anthony Johnson’s agent Ken Pavia is going to formally appeal Rumble’s loss via eye-pokes. (Five Ounces of Pain)

Frank Shamrock says he’ll fight Robbie Lawler in November if Lawler beats Scott Smith this Saturday. (CBS)

UFC Undisputed will allow fans to see exactly how UFC matchmaker Joe Silva ranks each division’s fighters. (Bloody Elbow).

If you like watching things that are boring but sort of historic, then this video of Forrest Griffin being laid on by UFC legend Dan Severn for three rounds is a must-see. (MMA Scraps)

Anderson Silva is kinda bummed that he fucked James Irvin up so hard. (The UG)

Anybody wanna buy the Chicago Cubs? (Wall Street Fighter)

If you feel like blowing a half-hour, check out this collection of 81 amazing animated gifs. Rampage and Minowaman make an appearance! (Holy Taco)

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Poke!

Kevin Burns eye poke
(Courtesy of MMA-Core.com)

In case you’re wondering what a TKO via eye poke really looks like, here’s a close-up view from the Anthony Johnson-Kevin Burns debacle that you can watch again and again. Notice how, after the poke and the ensuing uppercut, the left hand that Burns comes back around with also has the fingers extended outward in poke-ready mode. I would suggest refining his punching technique, but it did result in him getting the win. As my grandfather used to say, if it ain’t broke, why not poke?

In other UFC Fight Night news, check out the below video of the post-fight press conference. Skip to 6:45 to hear Dana White give his take on Affliction and their fighters. Then he goes ahead and bashes the IFL one more time, mostly out of habit.

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Rich Franklin Kicks Wanderlei Silva’s Ass

You may have seen the raw footage of this floating around a week or so ago, but here’s the edited, minute-and-change version of Rich Franklin battling Wanderlei Silva in Rock/Paper/Scissors. The contest was a special exhibition bout that opened the 2008 Bud Light/USA Rock Paper Scissors League Championships — think “click-clack” for white hipsters — which went down June 21-22 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. How ’bout Franklin’s bitch-scream at 0:41? In a way, I think this video is very similar to how an actual fight between Franklin and Silva would go: Silva would come out strong in the first round, then Franklin would rally in the second before smashing Wandy’s scissors with a rock.

Also worth watching:
Countdown to Affliction: Banned (full 30-minute version)
Checking in with Anthony Johnson and Jake O’Brien
Canseco vs. Sikahema (ringside view)
The World’s Worst Stripper (Not safe for retinas, eardrums)

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