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Eddie Alvarez’s coach Mark Henry explains confrontation, reconciliation with Dustin Poirier

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Mark Henry just wanted to congratulate Dustin Poirier and wish him the best. Poirier, at the time, wanted nothing to do with it.

After Poirier’s second-round TKO win over Eddie Alvarez, Henry’s pupil, in the main event of UFC on FOX 30 last month, Henry was hoping to shake Poirier’s hand, Henry told MMA Fighting. Poirier blew him off, leading to what looked on television to be a heated confrontation.

“I walked up to Dustin to congratulate him,” Henry said. “He says, Get the blank away from me. Which I did. I’m like, you know what? It’s his moment. I want him to have his moment. He deserves it.”

Poirier said later that he was still upset with Alvarez and his team due to words said in the lead up to the bout. Alvarez and Poirier fought to a no contest at UFC 211 last year when Alvarez landed illegal knees to Poirier’s head and Poirier was unable to continue. Alvarez intimated publicly later that he thought Poirier quit. And Poirier assumed Alvarez’s team agreed with him.

That was not the case, Henry said. Henry said he did very few interviews before UFC on FOX 30, but lauded Poirier in the ones he did. In fact, Poirier and the New Jersey team, also coached by Ricardo Almeida, had a relationship. Poirier had come in a few years ago to assist Frankie Edgar for a fight.

“The few [interviews] that I did, I talked very, very highly about Dustin,” Henry said. “I said how he loved he was. We’ve had hundreds of guys come to our place to help with sparring and Dustin was the most loved.”

Henry said Alvarez was doing a bit of promotion when he said things like that and the entire team was not a part of it. Poirier and Alvarez’s boxing training partner Ray Robinson, a high-level pro boxer, almost got into it in the cage after the fight as well. Henry said he was trying to tell Poirier not to worry about them and focus on the fact that he had just beaten Alvarez, the former UFC lightweight champion, an all-time great in the weight class.

Poirier demurred later and found Team Alvarez backstage at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. Henry said Poirier apologized to the entire team.

“He was great, man,” Henry said. “I don’t even know if he went to the doctor first. He ran to find us first. Before he even went to the doctor, he found us, he apologized to our whole team. That’s just a good dude. It was the heat of the moment. I just wish he would have known the things I was saying about him beforehand.”

So, all’s well that ends well between Alvarez and Poirier, who will now face Nate Diaz at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Geographically, he’ll be real close to Henry’s New Jersey gym. But Henry said that the hatchet has been buried and there are no hard feelings between the two sides.

“He’s such an honorable dude, man,” Henry said. “It was at the moment, he’s all jacked up.”

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