Kenny Florian received a "couple eye pokes" during his UFC 101 loss to UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn earlier this month.
In fact, because of some blurry vision he's still experienced since that Philadelphia fight, he's seeing a doctor today to assure he sustained no serious injuries.
But as the UFC veteran and longtime lightweight contender today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
), he doesn't blame the loss on the eye pokes and said Penn "deserved the win."
In an interview with FightHype.com, Keith Florian, the trainer and brother of Kenny, said the fighter got poked in the eye and that Penn is "notorious" for the illegal strikes. He pointed to Penn's previous fights with Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes as examples.
Kenny Florian, though, was much more diplomatic when asked if he was poked by Penn.
"I got a couple eye pokes, but that happens I guess," Florian said. "I don't want to use that as an excuse, though.
"I have a doctor's appointmemnt today to make sure the eye is OK."
After taking some time off after the fourth-round submission loss to Penn in the UFC 101 main event, Florian (11-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) returned to training yesterday for the first time. However, he was still having problems with his sight and decided to see a doctor.
"I had some blurry vision," Florian said. "I just want to make sure there's no trauma to the eyeball itself. ... I'm confident there shouldn't an issue."
Of course, the obvious question is whether Florian thinks the eye pokes were intentional. In a combat sport with open-finger gloves, accidental eye pokes happen often and are an accepted danger of the game. Intentional eyes pokes, though, are a different matter.
So does Florian think they were intentional or accidental?
"I'm going to go ahead and say there were accidental," he said.
In fact, Florian complimented Penn and his game-planning numerous times. The term Florian used most often was "execute" when explaining why he fell short in his second quest for the UFC's lightweight.
"I was just off," said Florian, who also suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Sean Sherk for the vacant title in 2006. "It was an off night, and B.J. was on. ... He deserved the win. It was as simple as that.
"I was definitley disappointed. It was a tough few days after that event. I've got to say I didn't do what I should have done. ... I couldn't get my timing, couldn't get my range going. I couldn't execute. But I don't want to sit here and come up with excuses."
Florian, who trained with St-Pierre for this fight and said he will continue to do so for future bouts, hopes to get back in the octagon soon. He said the nine-month layoff between the Penn fight and his previous one (a first-round submission win over Joe Stevenson in November at UFC 91) was difficult to work through and that he doesn't want to be sidelined that long ever again.
"I want someone tough for my next fight," Florian said. "I want to fight every three or four months. I don't want to experience that lull (between fights) again.
"Hopefully I get a few wins against some tough guys and I can get right back there and fight for the title again."