UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson lost his appeal to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to have his “loss” to Kevin Burns overturned to a No Contest ruling. The appeal was filed by his Manager, Ken Pavia, on his behalf based on the eye poke that Johnson received from Burns, directly resulting in his loss.
“Based on advice from the Nevada Attorney General’s office, the appeal was rejected due to lack of remedy,” NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMAJunkie.com.
Just last month, Johnson wasn’t too concerned about the appeal, willing to accept the “loss.”
“I wasn’t really big on the whole appealing the fight anyway,” Johnson said. “Every single champion has a loss on his record. I’m trying to see myself as the bigger and better guy. If I’m the champion one day, I’ll accept an ‘L’ (on my record).”
Johnson was dominating their July 19th bout when Burns accidentally landed a thumb to Johnson’s eye in the 3rdRound. Johnson immediately fell to the canvas. On replay, the poke was clear and referee Steve Mazzagatti has received quite a bit of grief regarding the missed call, however Johnson was one of the few that didn’t blame Mazzagatti.
“Everybody was hating on Mazzagatti because of the call, but he was on the side I was blocking on, so he actually didn’t see the guy eye gouge me,” Johnson said about the maligned referee. “All he saw was the uppercut … he called what he thought he saw and I respect him.”
If Johnson would have been able beat Burns, he would have thrown his name right into the mix of other 170-pound competitors that are waiting in line for a shot at reigning champion Georges St-Pierre. Johnson is regarded as one of the division’s most exciting young fighters, and the controversial loss certainly hasn’t hurt his standing within the UFC.
The youngster has since had successful eye surgery and will be back to training full-time this month.