A funny thing happened to John Dodson Friday night during and after his fight against Jussier da Silva at UFC on FX 5.
Despite a second-round knockout, Dodson was overwhelmed by the jeers coming from the crowd in attendance in Minnesota. The boos were heard loudly during the first round, and again in the second, even when Dodson put da Silva away with strikes, cementing his spot at the UFC’s new No. 1 contender at 125 pounds.
The flyweight division is new to the UFC, but the last two high profile fights in the weight class have been met with the same kind of fan reaction. When Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez last month to crown the first ever UFC flyweight champion, they faced the same kind of fan criticism in loud order from those in attendance in Toronto.
UFC president Dana White lashed out at the fans who booed the flyweight co-main event, and on Friday the 125-pound fighters found back-up from a heavyweight who happened to be in the crowd that night.
As Dodson battled da Silva in the cage, an unruly fan decided to not only boo their performance, but began name calling the flyweight fighters. UFC heavyweight Pat Barry, who was seated a few rows in front of the fan, decided enough was enough and stood up and called out the fan for his remarks.
“Pat Barry sent me pictures and he was sitting there texting me. I like Pat Barry as a fighter, and I didn’t know I was one of his favorite fighters until he was sitting there going ‘you’re amazing, you got all this energy,’ and you know what, Pat, thank you,” Dodson said about Barry when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio on Monday.
“He was sitting there telling this dude to shut up cause the guy was sitting there calling me a (expletive). He’s like ‘you guys are (expletive), John Dodson’s you’re a (expletive)’, and Pat Barry stood up and said ‘hey, what did you say?’ and the guy like buried himself into his seat and started crouching down and didn’t want to say nothing.”
Fans booing at a sporting event is nothing new, and the general consensus is that if you plunk down your hard earned money to pay for a ticket then you have carte blanche to cheer if you want to cheer, or boo if you want to boo.
Dodson doesn’t necessarily disagree in some instances, but when name calling and cursing starts happening, he wonders why there is so much venom being thrown towards the fighters who are doing something the fan wasn’t willing to do.
“For all those fans that are going to sit there and call a fighter a (expletive), tell someone that they suck, tell them they don’t know how to fight, tell them they’ve got no heart, I’d like for you guys to go ahead and go out there and do it,” said Dodson.
“You guys want to judge us and be critics of it, but yet none of you guys are doing it. This is what our lives and our dream is, and yet you guys are sitting there being like the outside viewers looking in. Like we’re giving it our all and you guys are like ‘this sucks, you guys are horrible.’”
For Dodson, it’s not about being loved or being hated, it’s about fans appreciating the effort and hard work that goes into any fighter stepping into the cage. If there was one thing that Dodson did take away as a positive, however, it was being welcomed into the fraternity of UFC fighters by his larger than average co-worker.
“It made me feel more welcome and appreciate the fact that other people like us flyweights, other fighters appreciate our fighting style. He can stand up for his brothers in arms, being another fighter. Pat Barry is awesome,” said Dodson.
Since spending time on the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Dodson has been one of those fighters with a ‘love/hate’ relationship with the fans. He goes out and finishes fights, or puts on exciting fights he doesn’t finish, but still he feels the heat from some fans who he just happens to rub the wrong way.
Well, if the fans need a fighter to hate, John Dodson is happy to be that guy because he’s not changing the way he fights, the way he speaks or the way he acts for anybody.
“If they need somebody to hate, they can go ahead and hate me as much as they want. I’m not going to be one of those guys to sit there pouting, ‘jeez, I wish you guys would stop hating me, I wish you guys would be on my side. Please, please stop picking on me.’ No, if you want somebody to hate, go ahead and hate me, but I’m going to keep on being me,” said Dodson.
“I’m going to keep on being the little cartoon character that I am.”
To hear the full interview with John Dodson as well as Jon Fitch and Steve Magdaleno, listen to Monday’s edition of MMAWeekly Radio