Bobby Green responds to Tony Ferguson’s eye poke accusation at UFC 291
It’s on those online boards where fans sympathetic to Ferguson have suggested Green’s win was more a sign of the ex-interim champ’s downfall than Green’s talent. On top of that, Ferguson has blamed his performance on an eye poke from Green that he alleged was intentional.
Green said Ferguson isn’t the most trustworthy of messengers on this issue, but it still bothers him that the post-script about this past Saturday’s fight is not about his performance.
“If you argue with a crazy man, you’re probably crazy,” he responded on The MMA Hour. “So I’m not going to argue with him. On one side of it is, he thinks I’m intentionally trying to do this for this fight, so I’m not gonna argue with him on that aspect. He’s crazy with that, but you can’t argue with crazy.
“The other part of the side of it, I feel like I’m sad, and I’m sad because it’s a mark on my body of work. It’s sad [because it] means that he thinks that it would go differently.”
Green pointed out a head-butt and several illegal glove-holds from Ferguson during the fight. He said he would never intentionally cheat in a fight. Yet if fans want to say that, there’s nothing he can do about it.
“I don’t need to cheat no guys,” he said. “My skills pay the bills. Trust me, I rely on skills, I don’t rely on athletics, or I don’t rely on this and that – the skills in this, a lot of things that you guys don’t understand is happening. And so I feel bad, because I did do the eye poke – I felt bad that it happened.”
Green explained that the eye poke was an unfortunate byproduct of rapidly changing distances during the fight. In a sport like boxing, certain setups would have fewer defensive possibilities. In MMA, however, fighters have to be ready for so many different things, and the result is often fouls like the one he said he accidentally committed.
“What happened was, he jumped for a second, and I wasn’t ready and I kind of [put my hands out], and I was gonna throw a punch, too,” he said. “The second part about it is, when I throw my punch, why they’re so fast, is that throwing like Bruce Lee said – you float the hand through, and then you snap. You throw it and snap it at the end.
“And so sometimes that can happen and, ‘Oh, he got a little too close.’ Sometimes I jammed my hand up, because the guy was a little too close, and it bent up. … And so sometimes those things are gonna be off. It just happens in fighting. It happens for all of us.”
Ferguson and Green sparred in the leadup to the fight. When Ferguson insinuated Green was scared of him after a run-in at the host hotel for UFC 291, Green fired back at the press conference and interviews. After getting the last word in the actual fight, Green didn’t feel the need to defend his honor as strongly.
“He’s crazy,” Green said of Ferguson. “He said he had a chip in his teeth, or in his leg, or something like that. He’s crazy. I told him, I said, ‘Take the sunglasses off.’ That’s when he tripped over a board, and that’s why he messed up last time. I’m like, this guy’s crazy. You didn’t learn the first time? Take the goddamn sunglasses off in the house, you know?”
Even with the sour taste his mouth, Green understands where Ferguson is coming from. There’s a lot about what happens in fights that’s unfair, and many times, fans don’t even realize how small actions can have massive effects on the result (to say nothing about how a fight is perceived by those scoring the fight). Rarely do fighters get a chance to change the narrative once it gets established among fans.
Green wholeheartedly believes he beat Ferguson and would do so even more decisively if they met again. He doesn’t agree with how his opponent is handling the loss, but he ultimately bears no ill will toward him.
“I would just tell him, listen, bro, I got nothing but love for you,“ he said to Ferguson. “I hope that you don’t take any of this personal. It’s the fight game. I never would ever try to do something dirty to a legend, who comes from where I come from, the same side. Just never meant anything like that. I thought it was going to be a dope classic. If it stained it for him like that, that really sucks.”