In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

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In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by Hamilcar on Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:51 pm

http://mmajunkie.com/2017/06/demetrious-johnson-ufc-battle-for-respect

By Ben Fowlkes

In retrospect, maybe Demetrious Johnson was the wrong guy for the UFC to pick a fight with. He’s too smart, too capable of expressing himself in clear, measured words, too good at making his own case and calmly tearing apart anyone else’s.

On top of all that, he’s also the most dominant champion in the UFC. So why is he still battling for respect against the very people who are supposed to be promoting him?

This is the essential question in the current feud between the UFC and its flyweight champion. It’s the issue at the heart of the entire dispute, and the reason for it spilling into the public eye to begin with.

The way this started was UFC President Dana White went on the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast – the “official podcast of the UFC,” according to its website – to criticize Johnson for his reluctance to accept a fight against T.J. Dillashaw. It was “insanity” for Johnson to turn down this fight, White said. It was his only chance to earn a cut of pay-per-view for the first time, White said, and for some reason Johnson didn’t want to do it.

White’s motive in taking this complaint to a UFC-controlled podcast seems fairly obvious. It was an attempt to leverage public opinion against Johnson in order to get him to agree to the UFC’s demands. What White may not have realized was that Johnson was capable of leveraging some public opinion of his own.

In a nearly 2,000-word statement posted on Imgur, Johnson laid out a different chronology of events. It began with the UFC insisting that Johnson defend his title against flyweight contender Ray Borg, only to later insist that he fight bantamweight contender Dillashaw instead.

According to Johnson, the UFC levied all manner of threats against him, ranging from barring him forever from any chance to receive a cut of the PPV for his title defenses to getting rid of his division altogether.

A recurring complaint from the UFC throughout this dispute, according to Johnson, was that he was simply unmarketable. That, in fact, the entire flyweight division was a promotional black hole and might be better off on the trash heap. Johnson countered that, when it came to selling his fights, the UFC didn’t seem to be trying all that hard.

It’s a strange conversation for one of the world’s best MMA fighters to have with the world’s biggest MMA promotion. If you tell a guy he doesn’t sell, that in fact he cannot sell, how motivated can you really expect him to be when you then offer him a percentage of the sales? And when you’re the salesman in the equation, when it’s your entire job, how do you expect to be able to frame that as his failure and not yours?

While it’d be great to see Johnson fight someone like Dillashaw (but even better to see him fight current bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt, who Johnson claimed he initially agreed to face), it’s not a great look for the UFC to be quarreling so bitterly with a fighter on the verge of breaking the record for most consecutive title defenses. It’s an even worse look to be threatening and bullying him in private, while pretending to love and respect him in public.

It would at least be more understandable if there was some consistency to it. Making Johnson into a popular fighter – or at least a draw, for one reason or another – is in the UFC’s best interests. The more popular fighters it has, the more PPVs it sells, the more money it makes.

So why is the president of the company trying so hard to make Johnson look bad? Why is he putting the UFC’s media resources to work at the job of tearing down one of the greatest talents in the sport today?

Again, the answer seems fairly obvious. White doesn’t like to be told no. He doesn’t like having anything less than total control. If Johnson won’t go along with the UFC’s shifting plans, White would rather harm his drawing power in the long run than let him have his way in the short term.

This is straight out of White’s usual playbook. He loves to tell us what big stars his fighters are when he’s making a play for our money. It’s when those same fighters make a play for more of the UFC’s cash that he can’t wait to tell us that they’re all insignificant nobodies who couldn’t move a needle to save their lives.

If you’re trying to improve a fighter’s sales, that’s a strange way to go about it. And if you’re willing to even consider trashing the whole division when the champ is standing on the precipice of history, maybe you’ve just told us more than you meant to about your true priorities.

But then, if that’s how the UFC really feels, maybe it should do away with the men’s flyweight division, and the sooner the better. That would at least give some other promoter the chance to make something out of it. Maybe Johnson would get more respect there. At the moment, seems like it’d be hard for him to get any less.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by CDF47 on Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:59 pm

If the DJ/TJ fight happens, it would be a chance for DJ to take the title defense record. Maybe after that they should scrap the division. DJ finishes fights but not too many fights are finished at this weight. They should consider having only one WMMA division as well. I like seeing more fights in the heavier weight classes with more finishes with a mix of LW and other bouts.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by Hamilcar on Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:16 pm

CDF47 wrote:If the DJ/TJ fight happens, it would be a chance for DJ to take the title defense record.  Maybe after that they should scrap the division.  DJ finishes fights but not too many fights are finished at this weight.  They should consider having only one WMMA division as well.  I like seeing more fights in the heavier weight classes with more finishes with a mix of LW and other bouts.

Yeah, but DJ's problem here, was the chance that TJ would not make weight. If he didn't then you have all the problems that come with that (and I believe there was something stupid, where DJ was not even going to get any money in such an event.)

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by CDF47 on Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:20 pm

Hamilcar wrote:
CDF47 wrote:If the DJ/TJ fight happens, it would be a chance for DJ to take the title defense record.  Maybe after that they should scrap the division.  DJ finishes fights but not too many fights are finished at this weight.  They should consider having only one WMMA division as well.  I like seeing more fights in the heavier weight classes with more finishes with a mix of LW and other bouts.

Yeah, but DJ's problem here, was the chance that TJ would not make weight.  If he didn't then you have all the problems that come with that (and I believe there was something stupid, where DJ was not even going to get any money in such an event.)

Yeah, there was a lot of crazy money talks. I think TJ will make weight and since Garbrandt is hurt it makes sense for DJ to take this fight and get PPV points because the fight should sell. All they have to do is stack the card up for this one to make sure to get DJ some good money he deserves as a P4P elite. They should even pay him a bit extra in appreciation of his accomplishments, win or lose.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by InfinityLens on Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:06 pm

He could try to work something out with Bellator (at BW) and Rizin (at FlW) where he could be a champ in both orgs.

Best I can think of, not a lot of FlW''s outside of the UFC.
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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by westcott123 on Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:44 am

With Dana threat of closing the division bellator would certainty take the division DJ has said he wants to fight under pride rules Double org world champion
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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by CDF47 on Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:02 am

westcott123 wrote:With Dana threat of closing the division bellator would certainty take the division DJ has said he wants to fight under pride rules Double org world champion

I'd love to see it.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by InfinityLens on Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:10 am

^^^If MM leaves they may just close the division, he is the only guy in it that comes close to being a draw. Other promo's could pick up sup guys for rock bottom prices though.
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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by CDF47 on Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:30 am

InfinityLens wrote:^^^If MM leaves they may just close the division, he is the only guy in it that comes close to being a draw. Other promo's could pick up sup guys for rock bottom prices though.

I wouldn't be surprised if they start doing away with divisions that aren't a draw. Some of the WMMA divisions may fall in this category as well.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by InfinityLens on Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:39 am

They seem to be upping the ladies divisions, FlW a few maybe BW would the likeliest to drop.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by Hamilcar on Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:41 am

westcott123 wrote:With Dana threat of closing the division bellator would certainty take the division DJ has said he wants to fight under pride rules Double org world champion

See? That is actually more impressive to me than champion in multiple weight classes. You actually fight other guys from other orgs which cements your greatness.

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Re: In ongoing battle for respect, why is UFC shaping up as Demetrious Johnson's greatest foe?

Post by CDF47 on Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:37 pm

Hamilcar wrote:
westcott123 wrote:With Dana threat of closing the division bellator would certainty take the division DJ has said he wants to fight under pride rules Double org world champion

See?  That is actually more impressive to me than champion in multiple weight classes. You actually fight other guys from other orgs which cements your greatness.

I agree

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