UFC 210 Corner Audio Reveals Anthony Johnson Appearing To Ignore Coach


If you think you were the only one that was confused when Anthony Johnson chose to grapple Daniel Cormier rather than create distance and box him, you’re wrong.

According to excerpts from a stunning transcript of corner audio obtained by MMA Junkie, Johnson’s coaches were angrily begging Rumble to disengage from grappling Cormier before the defending champion defeated Johnson via submission at the UFC 210 light heavyweight title fight.

In the transcript, Johnson’s striking coach Henri Hooft and other cornermen told Rumble to not wrestle or take down Cormier at least four times in the first round. They then questioned a silent Johnson in the break as to why he refused to keep distance from Cormier.

Then in the second round as Johnson lost, Hooft expressed frustration and said, “I’m not saying nothing.”

Here are the excerpts released by MMA Junkie.

Round 1

Voice: Take your time. Nice. Take your time. Don?t take him down.

Hooft: Don?t wrestle him.

Voice: If you?re going to go, go single.

Hooft: You don?t have to wrestle him, AJ. Just relax.

Voice: Don?t wrestle him.

Hooft: Get out of there. Get out of there.

Grappling coach Neil Melanson: OK, stud. Now, let?s get your hands hot.

Voice: Why is he wrestling him?

Hooft: This is stupid.

Voice: Why is he wrestling him?

Hooft: (Expletive) it, man. Just get off the cage.

Voice: Get out of there.

Voice: Why isn?t he listening?

(Johnson and Cormier are broken up by referee John McCarthy, and Johnson lands kicks.)

Voice: He?s tired already, DC. He doesn?t need to do this.

Voice: Why isn?t he listening?

Hooft: I don?t know why he?s doing that. We have no (expletive) eyes.

Break between Round 1 and Round 2

Hooft: Can you tell me why you?re wrestling? Now, you?re not going to wrestle. You take your distance. Stay away, two steps away. Why are you so worried about everything? The kicks and the knees are really good, but no kicks. Where?s your hands?

Voice: You?re doing great. Don?t (expletive) wrestle him.

Hooft: If you stand your distance, it?s an easy game. Why make it difficult?

Round 2

Hooft: Movement. Athletic. Movement. That?s it. Take your distance.

(Johnson reverses against the cage and goes for another takedown)

Hooft: You need distance.

Hooft: I?m not saying nothing.

(Cormier has Johnson on the mat and is setting up a choke)

Hooft: It?s going the same as last time.

(Johnson submits to Cormier via rear-naked choke)

Hooft: Why, why the (expletive) does this happen every (expletive) time, man? Crazy.

So was Johnson ignoring his coaches? Perhaps he was trying to conserve energy until the later rounds. You be the judge. But it’s certainly strange why he’d abandon a strategy that’s worked so well for him over the years.

Following the loss, Johnson shocked the MMA world by announcing his retirement and later said he’s pursuing other career opportunities.

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY Sports Images

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