When Anthony Johnson called for his coach Henri Hooft to join him inside the Octagon, he was nowhere to be found.
“Rumble” announced his retirement from the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) after being submitted by Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 210. It was Johnson’s second attempt at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight gold.
To Johnson’s surprise, Hooft wasn’t around when he announced his retirement. This drew criticisms from fans despite not knowing the full details. During his recent appearance on MMAFighting.com‘s “The MMA Hour,” Hooft explained why he wasn’t around:
“Right after the fight, I was on the cage and he 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. 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 go back onto the arena floor). … He cried with me and he talked to me and everything, then it really [sunk in]. But I’m not surprised, because again, we talked about it. I’ve already (had) six years with Anthony. I’ve known him for so long, and these last couple of months have been difficult for all of us with all of the stuff that happened (with the Blackzilians). It was a crazy time.”