Friday, December 12, 2008

Anthony Johnson Exclusive with

The Photo above is Courtesy of Will

Originally posted on

Anthony Johnson has repeatedly insisted that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Kevin Burns for poking him in the eye and leaving him with a severely damaged retina during their July bout. It’s the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which refused to overturn the TKO loss on his record, that really bothers him.

In our exclusive interview, Johnson tells his side of the story, and tells us why Saturday night’s rematch on Spike TV is going to turn out much differently. Here we are a few days from the rematch, how is your eye, and what was the recovery from the surgery like?

My eye is 100%. I can see even better now since I had the surgery. It’s been great so far. My recovery was, I would say, 3 or 4 weeks. I stopped wearing my bandage after like two weeks.

Is there not some part of you that really wants revenge against Burns for making you go through that?

For me it’s still a fight. A fight is always a fight. I don’t hold any kind of grudge against him. Everybody thinks I’m going out for revenge, but I’m not. I’m going out to fight, plain and simple. Whatever happens in there happens.

How can you not be even a little mad at him? Are you just the nicest person in the world?

I’m definitely not the nicest person in the world, but with the sport that I’m in I have to accept that things like that can happen. I can’t just get mad because I got hurt. Anybody can get hurt, but that doesn’t mean it was done on purpose. I try and look at things from the positive side. I still have my vision. My eye wasn’t too bad. And I still have my career, so I can’t complain about anything.

Do you think, knowing what we know now, that he should have not taken that fight if he couldn’t punch with a closed fist?

You know, being a man and being a fighter, I think he should have stepped up and fixed his hand before he decided to fight and cause somebody a serious injury. And now that he did cause someone a serious injury, he had no choice but to get his hand fixed. Maybe if he hadn’t hurt anyone he would have kept going like that. Since this happened he realized he had to get it fixed for his career.

What were you thinking during the fight as it was happening?

When he did it one time I just shook it off. But then after two or three times I realized he was just continually poking me in the eye, and [referee Steve] Mazzagatti wasn’t saying anything at all. The last one he got me his fingers went deep into my eye. You can see how bad it was.

He says he didn’t realize he was poking you, even with the last one.

He had to. You can look at my reaction, how my head was going back. It wasn’t because he was punching me, I can tell you that. I had my guard up and his hand slipped through my guard and poked me right in the eye. You can see it if you watch the tape. He can’t just say he didn’t know or that he just poked me once because when he poked me that last time he knew he poked me. I don’t know how he could say he didn’t know he was poking me in the eye.

I heard that Steve Mazzagatti saw you at the EliteXC show and apologized to you.

Yeah, he did.

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