The relationship between the UFC and Demetrious Johnson is clearly, very strained, as the flyweight champ is on the verge of making history.
If you’ve been following the situation recently, then you know that the parties haven’t been on the same page, in terms of who Johnson should fight next. Dana White has made it clear that they want to have Johnson fight TJ Dillashaw in his next bout, which, if “Mighty Mouse” wins, he’ll set a new record for title defenses at 11.
But, Johnson has publicly argued that Dillashaw doesn’t deserve a shot at the 125 belt, since he hasn’t competed at flyweight. “Mighty Mouse” has also stated that he’s concerned about Dillashaw’s ability to make 125.
White, however, has seemed agitated by Johnson’s stance, and has labelled the champ’s view on the situation as “insanity”.
Well, clearly Johnson believes he’s been pushed too far, as now the vaunted fighter has released a lengthy statement. In it, Johnson accuses White and the UFC of bullying, being “tyrannical” and not doing enough to promote the champ. Here is some of what Johnson had to say (comments from MMA Junkie):
For years I have been a company man and kept quiet, accepting fights, doing as they asked, and always remaining humble and grateful for the opportunities provided to me through mixed martial arts. This is how I was raised through the sport. Unfortunately, UFC’s mistreatment and bullying has finally forced me to speak out. I’ve decided to speak out now as I feel like my values and character as a person and a fighter are being tarnished by an organization I’ve done nothing but sweat and bleed for over the last 7 years of my life. If it takes me speaking up and encouraging other fighters to ban together to start getting fair treatment, then so be it…
…Completely unrelated — and after the accepted fight vs. Ray Borg — Cody Garbradt injured his back and TJ Dillashaw said he wanted to fight me. Dana told me he wanted me to fight TJ, which I disagreed with for multiple reasons. First, TJ has never fought at flyweight and is unlikely to make the weight, which would then eliminate the possibility of breaking the title defense record. Second, they have already told me that a fight between Cody and I wouldn’t be sellable, so fighting TJ would have no monetary upside. Third, TJ is not a flyweight or a current champion in another weight class and was KO’ed by the flyweight whom I beat twice already. Last, Ray Borg and I already agreed to the fight, which UFC tyrannically demanded, while denying me any future PPV points.
After telling Dana my reasons, Dana angrily told me that I am fighting TJ, once again, with no other option or say in my career, and against the plans we had previously laid out. He went on further to say that if I didn’t take the fight against TJ, and drop Borg as the opponent, he would get rid of the entire flyweight division. He said, this is for TJ and I’m taking away TJ’s opportunity. That fact that he feels that what I should do in my career is for TJ, tells where his priority lies…
I agreed to their tyrannical demand to fight Ray Borg and Ray also agreed.
UFC has refused to give me PPV points on any future flyweight bouts, and has never given me any PPV points on previous bouts. My request was fair and the matchmaker in charge of the flyweight and bantamweight division agreed.
I gave UFC fair conditions to change the fight to TJ Dillashaw and they refused.
Dana and Sean have told me that they have no interest in marketing me or the smaller divisions, so when they say that I will make PPV money vs. Dillashaw, they leave out the fact that I have to hit certain numbers of buys, which will not be hit if they fail in marketing me like they have in my previous fights.
If TJ doesn’t make weight, I can’t break the record for the most consecutive title defenses and they have denied paying me in that circumstance.
Dana has made an effort to bully me in the media as well as in private, in order to get what he wants, even though it is not what is best for me or the sport.
If Dana says this will be a big PPV fight for me, and that they will promote it properly, then he can pay for it up front and explain to Ray Borg why he is being taken out of the fight that the UFC matchmaker in charge of the division put him in. Otherwise, it is just another lie and attempt to bully me to do something that Dana wants, but is not the right thing to do for the sport or my career.
UFC’s track record in making an effort to promote my fights, and Dana’s claim that this is a big chance for PPV dollars for me tells a different story than what Dana is stating to the public.
If you have the time, you should read the entire statement, as it provides an interesting take on what’s transpired. Of course, White and the UFC matchmakers will almost certainly have a different view on what’s gone down.
Johnson is just the latest fighter to publicly air grievances they have with the UFC, and it seems clear we’ve entered a new age, whereby disgruntled athletes are no longer remaining quiet.