Anthony Johnson had some pointed words for the media covering UFC 191. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Anthony Johnson faced a fair amount of scrutiny leading up to his UFC 191 bout with Jimi Manuwa.
Approximately two weeks before Saturday’s event, “Rumble” took to social media to direct a rant at a women from his gym who decided to stretch in an area where he was lifting weights. In addition to throwing her yoga mat across the gym, Johnson insulted her physical appearance in his Facebook tirade.
The altercation, as well as Johnson’s initial lack of remorse (he later issued an apology), was especially concerning considering his history of domestic violence allegations. After hiring a hiring a third-party firm to investigate Johnson’s most recent actions, the UFC announced that the fighter had agreed to participate in counseling and make a donation to a Florida-based women’s charity. Things didn’t get any easier during fight week, as Johnson also had to address accusations of dog abuse.
None of the above seemed to distract Johnson in the Octagon, however, as he ran roughshod over Jimi Manuwa at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Blackzilians representative put his British foe away with a counter right hand and two follow-up punches on the mat 28 seconds into round two. After the victory, Johnson delivered a message to members of the media seated cageside:
Anthony Johnson as he walks by press row: Hey media, report on that shit!— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 6, 2015
Rumble walking past press row: “Media, write a report on that sh*t. I know ya’ll got a lot of sh*t to say. Write about that sh*t."— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) September 6, 2015
At Saturday’s post-fight press conference, Johnson was asked to explain the comments he made on his way past media row.
“Like I said before, you guys are going to write whatever you want to write,” Johnson said. “A lot of you guys write a lot of bulls--t. But that’s what you have to do to get paid and I’m fine with that. But if you’re gonna write something bad, also write something good.”
Johnson himself had plenty of positive things to say about new grappling coach Neil Melanson, who recently left Alliance MMA to join the Blackzilians. Known for his menacing power, Johnson showcased his wrestling in the first round against Manuwa, taking his foe down twice and working from top position.
“Neil definitely opened up my mind. He brought back some things that I was doing in the past that I got away from,” Johnson said. “Once again, if it wasn’t for him, I’d probably be the same guy that fought last time. Each and every fight I try to get better and better.”
Johnson was coming off a third-round submission loss to Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight title bout at UFC 187. The 31-year-old light heavyweight, who has won 10 of his last 11 fights overall, sensed that he had an edge against Manuwa before they ever set foot in the Octagon.
“I could tell Jimi was worried because Thursday when we had our staredown we faced off and I saw his hands shaking a little bit,” Johnson said. “So I knew I was in his head. He could have been nervous then and still be ready to fight tonight, so I just had to go out there and do what I do.”