UFC President Dana White said he can’t understand why UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson would turn down the opportunity to get a piece of pay-per-view revenue for the first time in his career.
In fact, he sounded downright confused, even annoyed – and a little incensed.
The UFC executive has been a bit heated ever since UFC flyweight champion Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC), who’s one title defense away from breaking Anderson Silva’s long-standing record of 10, said he’s not interested in a fight with former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC).
Dillashaw, a former bantamweight champion, was supposed to fight current 135-pound kingpin Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC). However, with Garbrandt sidelined due to a back injury, Dillashaw has stumped for the chance to drop down to flyweight and challenge Johnson, who’s the No. 1 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA pound-for-pound rankings, next.
“I have a fight with Demetrious Johnson where he’s on his way to break the record – Anderson Silva’s record for most title defenses,” White told the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast. “And T.J. Dillashaw can’t fight Cody ‘No Love’ because Cody screwed up his back, and Cody won’t be back for a while. He’s like, ‘I can make this weight, and I’m going to stop him from breaking that record.’
” … T.J. is going to go down to 125 to fight D.J. to stop him from breaking the record, but D.J. doesn’t want to fight him.”
“Tell me – you tell me,” White said. “It’s insanity.”
As we previously reported, Johnson, the first and only 125-pound champion in UFC history, isn’t interested in the fight. Instead, he wants a bout against Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who’s currently on a 5-1 run and ranked No. 5 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings. Johnson said he simply wants to focus on the guys who fight full-time in his weight class.
It seems White is ready to pull rank to get the fight he wants.
“Unfortunately for D.J., you don’t make the fights around here,” he said. “I do. (Johnson vs. Dillashaw is) the fight we’re pushing for.”
Besides, White said, he’s surprised Johnson – a fighter embraced by hardcore fans but yet to become a PPV draw – would turn down the opportunity to get a piece of PPV revenue for the first time in his dominant career.
“This is the first fight ever in D.J.’s history that he actually gets pay-per-view,” White said. “He gets pay-per-view on this one, and this is the first real fight that people will care about and want to see on pay-per-view, and he is refusing to fight T.J. Dillashaw.”
The fight is tentatively slotted for Aug. 19, which is expected to be UFC 215 – possibly in Seattle, near Johnson’s Washington home.
It could be Johnson’s best chance to make a PPV impact. That’s why White doesn’t understand the champ’s focus on Borg.
“What’s he ranked – like (No.) 5 or 6?” he said. “T.J. Dillashaw is a former world champion, coming down from the weight class above who’s next in line for the title shot there. Absolutely he’s next in line (at flyweight), if that’s what he wants. … It’s nothing against Ray Borg.”
Johnson was invited on to MMAjunkie Radio this past week to talk about the situation, but the champ said he’s not interested in discussing about the situation publicly. For now, “Mighty Mouse” is holding his cards close to his chest, and it seems even White is surprised by the fighter’s demands. Then again, these days in the UFC, the longtime executive said fighters seem to be taking more stands.
“It ain’t like it used to be,” he said. “Let’s put it that way.”view original article >>