Anthony Johnson wanted his head coach, Henri Hooft, and other cornermen inside the cage after his UFC 210 loss to Daniel Cormier so he could announce his retirement with them by his side. But they were nowhere to be found, and Hooft explains why.
Anthony Johnson lost to UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier by second-round submission in the UFC 210 main event last weekend and immediately retired afterwards, shocking the entire mixed martial arts fan base. It was an emotional moment for “Rumble,” and he wanted his cornermen inside the cage during his announcement to share the moment with them.
But Johnson’s coaches, including Henri Hooft, appeared to have already proceeded to the arena floor and backstage, seemingly catching the 205-pound contender off guard. He continued his retirement speech on without his cornermen inside the Octagon.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Hooft clarified why he was nowhere to be found post-fight.
“Right after the fight, I was on the cage and [Johnson] came to me and said, ‘I f-cked up,’ something, and I said, ‘Come on, man, I know it’s hard but get up, it’s already done.’ It’s what a coach says after a loss,” Hooft said (transcription via MMAFighting.com). “You cannot just, at that moment, talk about stuff. I was at the cage and said, ‘keep your head up, come on, let’s go.’ Then I stepped off and it was very busy in the cage, so I walked back to put another shirt on.
“When I was in the back, I heard that he was saying that he was retiring and looking for me and looking for other people, and I was like, ‘Oh sh-t.’ I was on my way back, then I saw him at the curtain (to return to the arena floor). … He cried with me and he talked to me and everything, then it really [sunk in].”
Hooft noted that he was criticized online by fans who thought Johnson’s team essentially ditched him after the fight.
“I got a lot of bad sh-t over me and everything. You know how it goes with social media,” Hooft said. “When everything is good, everything is good. Like, I’m leaving my fighter? I’ve never left anybody, especially me and AJ. We’re very good together.”