July 20, 2008
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson was on his way to a unanimous victory on national television and then it all changed with what was supposedly was a left jab by Kevin Burns. Johnson (pictured) took a brutal poke to his right eye. Blinded and in excruciating pain, Johnson went down like he'd been shot in the head. Referee Steve Mazzagatti never saw the poke. When Mazzagatti failed to step in, Kevin Burns hesitated and then pounced on Johnson It was stopped with the win to Burns.
A few hours after the fight, Johnson still had no idea why the fight wasn't a no-contest.
"They didn't say nothing. Nobody has given me an excuse. The only thing I've heard from fans and even the staff of UFC was that it's bullsh*t."
Johnson was asked if his act of jumping to the floor fooled Mazzagatti.
"All I know I turned around and I was screaming. Honestly, his finger went in my eye. It hurt like hell. I've never had that happen before, not that deep at least."
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO POST-FIGHT INTERVIEW WITH JOHNSON (w/Cofield):
Johnson wasn't in the mood to hear why Mazzagatti missed the call.
"You could see it in slow motion. Usually someone will just drop from an uppercut. I turned around from the poke in the eye. I don't know what he was looking at. If he knows it's a bad call, he has live with it."
Burns, who was warned several times during the fight, did explain in the ring why he throws his left hand in that fashion.
"It was extremely accidental. I throw a palm strike with my left hand. I broke it three times in 16 months, so I have to throw it as a palm. I can't throw it as a closed fist. I feel unfair in a way, we can do it again."
Considering the fact that Mazzagatti did warn Burns about eye pokes, it's surprising that he didn't pick up on the fight ender.
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