Anthony Johnson will receive a chance to avenge a controversial loss to Kevin Burns that took place at UFC Fight Night 14 this past July when the two welterweights rematch each other during the live season finale for the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Dec. 13.
The news come courtesy of a report by MMAjunkie.com.
Johnson was declared the loser of the first encounter via TKO at 3:35 of round 3 after receiving an illegal eye poke delivered by Burns.
Burns had delivered several pokes to the eye during the course of the fight and had received multiple warnings by referee Steve Mazzagatti. It was the final poke that brought a stop to the fight as Johnson immediately winced in pain, turned his back, disengaged and moved towards the cage where he collapsed to the ground.
Thinking that Johnson had gone down to a legal strike, Mazzagatti called a stop to the fight and declared Burns the winner despite deliberating with officials at cageside. Without the proper vantage point or the benefit of replay, Mazzagatti was unable to make the proper call.
Mazzagatti and Johnson ran into each other during EliteXC and CBS’ “Saturday Night Fights” card on July 26 in Stockton, Calif. and Mazzagatti reportedly apologized to Johnson and acknowledged he made an improper call. Johnson accepted the apology but still filed an appeal with Nevada State Athletic Commission over the illegal strike to the eye that required surgery.
Stating that the proper guidelines did not exist to overturn the decision, NSAC ruled that Burns’ win would be upheld. According to the current set of rules, a win cannot be overturned in Nevada unless corruption or foul play of some kind was involved with the outcome of a fight. Mazzagatti’s ruling was viewed as human error.
Johnson is 5-2 overall and 2-2 inside the Octagon. He made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 10 on June 12, 2007 and knocked out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds. He returned at UFC 76 where he lost via a second round submission to Rich Clementi.
Johnson then rebounded with a televised knockout over Tommy Speer at UFC Fight Night 13 this past April. Facing “The Ultimate Fighter” season six runner-up, Johnson demolished Speer with vicious power shots with the fight ending in just 51 seconds. The win helped Johnson increase profile and allowed his fanbase to expand exponentially.
Burns is 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the UFC. Aside from his controversial win over Johnson, Burns’ other Octagon victory took place during his UFC debut at UFC 85 this past June. Accepting a fight on short notice against American Top Team’s Roan Carneiro, Burns, a jiu-jitsu blue belt, shockingly submitted the black belt with a triangle choke off his back at 2:53 of round 2.