UFC flyweight king Demetrious Johnson has had enough with the UFC’s “bullying and mistreatment,” and he’s letting the world know about it.
Johnson, who is one victory away from breaking the UFC title defense record, joins a list of growing fighters who have spoken out about the planet’s premier mixed martial arts promotion and it’s ringleader, UFC president Dana White.
“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,” Johnson told MMAFighting.com. “This is how I was raised through the sport. Unfortunately, UFC’s mistreatment and bullying has finally forced me to speak out.”
Johnson proceeds to go into great detail about various instances where he felt bullied into doing things that were in the UFC’s best interest, not his.
“Mighty Mouse” discusses how his proposed bout against Ray Borg came to fruition. Johnson felt Sergio Pettis was more deserving of next crack at his crown considering he was on a longer winning streak. It would also benefit Johnson’s pocketbook because Pettis is a bigger name than Borg.
However, Johnson said White ordered UFC Matchmaker Mick Maynard to tell Johnson “I had no choice, it was going to be Ray Borg, not Pettis, and there were no other options. That was the command from Dana and company. This would mean that my only chance at PPV points at flyweight was vs. Ray Borg.”
After agreeing to the bout, Johnson added a stipulation that he would next be able to defend his belt against UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and receive a percentage of the show’s PPV buys.
Yeah, about that…
“Mick spoke to Dana and [UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby, who then told him to deny giving me any future PPV points for all of my future flyweight fights,” Johnson shared. “Further, I still had to fight Ray Borg and they were giving me no other choice. I accepted the fight with Ray and decided to deal with the unfair situation and despicable treatment by Dana and Sean after I succeed in breaking the consecutive title fight defense record in my next fight vs. Borg. Mick thanked me for accepting the fight, knowing that I was being screwed over and mistreated by Dana and Sean.”
Shelby then called Johnson directly to reiterate that he would not be eligible for future PPV bonuses, and then threw some salt in his wounds.
“Sean Shelby called and told us how smaller fighters don’t sell, that UFC can’t make stars of anyone, and that a fight between Cody and I wouldn’t be a sellable fight,” Johnson shared.
Johnson believes the UFC can help make stars if they put their powerful marketing machine behind them (Please see: Paige VanZant, Sage Northcutt, Anthony Pettis, etc.), but for whatever reason have just chosen not to do so with Johnson.
Northcutt has the luxury of the UFC blasting his pan-bending, apple-crushing, karate-kicking videos to their 21.6 million Facebook and 5.7 million Twitter followers, yet “prior to my last fight, where I tied the record for the most consecutive successful title defenses, we waited to re-post UFC’s social media posts about me from their Facebook page. There weren’t any posts until a few days into fight week, then, there were a total of two posts,” said Johnson.
“In comparison to others who they promote across their social media platforms, they failed to do their job in promoting me and that monumental event. In my recent conversations, Sean and Dana have confirmed UFC’s lack of desire to put any effort into promoting us … I can’t think of any other sports organization in the world that has the best player in the sport where the league, or the organization, doesn’t market that player to their loyal fan base to sell more of their product.”
Johnson then shares the story of how White then demanded for him to fight TJ Dillashaw next, instead of Borg, who White initially ordered him to face.
“Dana told me he wanted me to fight TJ, which I disagreed with for multiple reasons,” stated Johnson. “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.”
Who nnew White and Dillashaw were BFFs?
The following day, Johnson claims White tried to publicly bully him into taking the Dillashaw fight by announcing the bout to the media and insinuating Johnson was ducking Dillashaw by saying things like, “You tell me why DJ doesn’t want to fight TJ.”
Johnson said the only way he would accept the Dillashaw scrap was if he would be guaranteed all of his money, as well as Dillshaw’s money, if Dillashaw failed to make weight – something the UFC and Dillashaw “guaranteed” would happen.
Take a wile guess as to how well that went?
“Mick went back to Dana and Sean, then came back and told us that they don’t agree with my request and I have to fight TJ with no guarantee to make weight or financial incentive if he doesn’t make weight. This is typical of the unfulfilled promises and bullying that has gone on through my UFC career,” Johnson said.
Few fighters have had the guts to speak out against the UFC for fear of retaliation. However, that list seems to be growing by the day and are starting to include the sport’s biggest stars. In fact, it might take less time to name the fighters who aren’t upset with the UFC’s mistreatment than those who are.
It will be interesting to see how the UFC tries to spin Johnson’s tirade.