Bobby Green picked up the most prominent name win of his long MMA career on Saturday night in Salt Lake City. The noted lightweight veteran found himself on PPV taking on former interim champion Tony Ferguson.
The result was a thoroughly one-sided ass kicking from ‘King’. After a little early trouble, the Pinnacle MMA talent settled into a fairly easy rhythm, countering Ferguson’s pressure with sharper strikes off the back foot and controlling him on the mat, until he finally hurt ‘El Cucuy’ badly enough to chase down the fight ending submission. Along the way, however, he did catch the 10th Planet black belt with a solid eye poke.
It’s an ever present danger in MMA, where fighters throw punches in volume, using gloves with open fingers to allow for better grappling. Fighters reach out to parry or fence off advancing opponents and it doesn’t take much for an out-stretched finger to find an eye. In this case, however, Ferguson seems to feel the foul was intentional.
Tony Ferguson claims intentional foul marred UFC 291
Saturday night’s loss was just the latest in a long string of disappointments for Tony Ferguson inside the Octagon. Once considered one of the very best lightweights on the planet (someone some fans and pundits even thought could have upset Khabib Nurmagomedov’s title reign), Ferguson hasn’t tasted victory since a 2019 doctor’s stoppage TKO over Donald Cerrone.
In the years since, he’s hit the Octagon six times, losing every contest—with four of those losses coming inside the distance. Even still it sounds like his bout against Green is one he felt he was on his way to winning before Green decided to change the momentum.
“As the fight began, I was in the Xone, flowing & feeling confident,” Ferguson wrote in a post to his Instagram account. “Bobby knew the direction of the fight & I believe he knew what he was doing when he poked my eye. He has a big History of moves like this. It significantly impaired my vision, making it difficult to see clearly out of my eye.
“Despite this eye poke I never considered stopping the fight. Although the doc wanted too. Throughout my career, I’ve always pushed through challenges & never given up. This time was no different.”
As such, perhaps it’s not terribly surprising that the 39-year-old has no intentions of hanging up his gloves any time soon. Despite the continued poor outcomes, Ferguson sounds as set as ever on keeping his fight career going.
“Unfortunately in sports, setbacks like this are part of the journey.” Ferguson added. “While I won’t use the eye poke as an excuse for the outcome, I know for a fact I have more to give. Moving forward, I plan to work closely with Dana, Hunter & my entire team to assess what’s next.”
Bobby Green isn’t interested in Ferguson’s story
If Tony Ferguson believes that Bobby Green’s eye poke was intentional, and that the has a history of fouling opponents, the 36-year-old former King of the Cage champion doesn’t sound like he has much intention of pushing back against the narrative. Not because he’s prepared to own up to his opponent’s version of events, more because he doesn’t think Ferguson can be reasoned with.
“Tony said that I intentionally poked him,” Green responded in a recent interview on the MMA Hour. “There’s a narrative that I intentionally poked him, and then that threw his momentum off, and then from there the fight just went my way. I disagree with that. I felt that I was doing so much more than that the entire fight.
“The point is, that I feel like, one is that if you argue with this guy who—Sean Strickland just put out a post, he said “Who’s the most insane? Either Tony Ferguson or Diego Sanchez?” Those guys have been known for being the most crazy of the two. I guess who won by 75%, on Sean’s poll? I didn’t have anything to do with it… it’s on his polls.
“So, what I’m saying is, that if you argue with a crazy man, you’re probably crazy. So I’m not gonna argue with him… He’s crazy with that, but you can’t argue with crazy.”
That victory provided Green with his own badly needed bounce-back to winning form, following a recent no-contest due to a head clash with Jared Gordon back in April. That fight came on the heels of back-to-back losses to Drew Dober and Islam Makhachev, both via TKO/KO.
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