On Saturday, the UFC announced lightweight Michael Johnson (pictured) will end what will be an 11-month hiatus to battle Edson Barboza in Brazil on February 22. The first thing that came to mind for most fans was, where has Johnson been since beating Melvin Guillard back in March?
Johnson was supposed to fight Josh Thomson on July 22 at UFC on FOX 12, but was pulled 11 days before showtime due to an “undisclosed injury.”
Well, it appears Johnson wasn’t yanked because of an “undisclosed injury” after all. The UFC hired a third-party to investigate Johnson after the 28-year-old was arrested in April for a domestic dispute.
“UFC lightweight Michael Johnson was ineligible to compete in the UFC organization following his arrest regarding a domestic dispute in Palm Beach County, Florida in April 2014,” the UFC expressed in Monday’s statement. “Given that the allegations against Johnson constituted a potential violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy, the UFC organization temporarily barred Johnson from competition pending the completion of a third-party investigation.
“Following a thorough review and investigation-including personal interviews with Johnson and independent confirmation that he has satisfied all obligations required by the UFC-Johnson is once again eligible to compete and will begin training for his next fight at UFC Fight Night: Evans vs. Teixeira in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The UFC will continue to monitor Johnson’s status. He must fully comply with the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and all other contractual and additional obligations in order to continue competing in the UFC.”
Johnson is the second known UFC fighter in the last three months to be temporarily suspended by the promotion following a domestic arrest. Blackzilian teammate Anthony Johnson was banned for two months following an incident with the mother of his two children.
Anthony Johnson was reinstated last month. He will face Alexander Gustafsson on January 24, with the victor advancing to a light heavyweight title tilt.