Demetrious Johnson has had enough. He’s had enough of the perceived disrespect by an organization that he’s been a champion in for the past five years. But there was a tipping point. And that tipping point was Dana White taking public aim at him after Johnson seemingly turned down a fight with T.J. Dillashaw after Dillashaw offered to come down in weight to face him.
But, as Johnson explains, it’s not as black and white as it was made out to be.
After years of toeing the company line, the UFC flyweight champion, who is on the cusp of breaking the record for most consecutive title defenses, went rogue and issued a statement regarding his current relationship with the UFC. He addressed what he calls “mistreatment and bullying” tactics by Dana White and claims that White threatened to shut down the entire flyweight division if Johnson didn’t take the fight with Dillashaw. After explaining a complicated scenario where Johnson was essentially backed into a corner after originally accepting a fight with Ray Borg, the champion headed to “The MMA Hour” to further explain his position.
Apparently, it all started when Dillashaw offered to face Johnson after his UFC 213 fight was postponed due to Cody Garbrandt suffering an injury. Johnson wasn’t necessarily interested in the fight considering that Dillashaw had never competed as a flyweight and was concerned that he wouldn’t be compensated properly if something were to happen. But it was White’s response to Johnson that essentially sent him over the edge.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back is Dana saying to my face that T.J. wants this and I’m taking this opportunity away from him,” Johnson said. “I said ‘Who the [expletive] cares what T.J. wants?’… I’m a man who is always willing to work his way up in a division and I believe in that.”
He also explained that he never received the common courtesy of a phone call about a potential fight with Dillashaw and learned about the fight on social media. Johnson stated under no uncertain terms that he’s always done everything the UFC asked of him and never received pay-per-view points in a fight. But for White to take to the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast and challenge Johnson without discussing it face to face was simply too much for Johnson to handle.
As for the notion that the UFC would shutter the entire division if he wouldn’t acquiesce to White’s demands? Johnson had a response for that too.
“Is this the tactic where you try to call my bluff?” Johnson asked. “If you’re going to do it, then close the [expletive] division. But don’t expect me to be like ‘Oh, I’ll fight T.J., please don’t close my division.”
As far as Mighty Mouse is concerned, all he wants is respect from Dana White and the UFC for being a company man for so many years. When other champions made demands about money fights, had a bigger marketing push or were looking to compete in an entirely different sport for an absurd amount of money, Johnson never complained. What he wants is a proper marketing push that would include compensation in the form of pay-per-view points. Oh, and the courtesy of a direct phone call when a fight opportunity comes up.
“Where’s Conor at? Where’s Ronda? Where’s my black ass? I’m still here trying to represent my company in the greatest combat sport on Earth.”
Johnson said that he is willing to face Ray Borg in August or have a conversation about Dillashaw but, for now, is focused on taking a vacation with his family until the dust settles.