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Kajan Johnson after UFC-London win: Fans' disrespect for fighters stems from Dana White


LONDON – Kajan Johnson’s in-cage response to fans who booed his UFC Fight Night 127 victory over Stevie Ray was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his thoughts on the situation.

Johnson (23-11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who defeated Ray (22-8 MMA, 5-3 UFC) by split decision in a lightweight bout on Saturday’s card at The O2 in London, hit back at fans who voiced their displeasure during his post-fight interview. But it turns out, he wasn’t done there.

Once Johnson headed backstage to meet with reporters, including MMAjunkie, he expanded on his comments. The 33-year-old has been a professional since 2002, and he said over time he’s seen an evolution in the sport’s fan base that he’s not a fan of. He doesn’t like how athletes are treated by the crowds, on social media and otherwise, and Johnson said it’s an attitude that stems from UFC President Dana White.

“I have a bit of an issue with the fans in mixed martial arts because of the way they treat the fighters,” Johnson told MMAjunkie. “In my opinion, it stems from the top. A lot of the time you’ll see Dana White giving the fighters so much grief. If you don’t go out, just sling leather and bleed for them, then he’s talking all this smack. And because the leader of the organization acts like this, then it’s so much easier for the fans to act like this. So it really upsets me, and it’s a huge problem that I have with it.”

White has a proven track record of criticizing athletes for, among other things, performance. However, Johnson said he doesn’t think the UFC boss would put a damper on his fight with Ray. He believes it was a competitive three-round fight with both sides showing plenty of skills and spirit, and he said that should meet White’s criteria for a quality fight.

“I think Dana probably would have liked that fight,” Johnson said. “He likes when people are fighting with their heart and not just with their skill. I think that’s very easy for fans to understand, whereas sometimes if you’re displaying your skill, you’re reserving your heart. That’s not a card you should lead with. You should use that card when all else fails, but you have to have it. So I think Dana would have been happy because we both showed our heart in that fight. But the fans, I believe, they were just upset with the way the decision went.”

After he was done scolding the crowd during his post-fight interview, Johnson admitted he felt the win against Ray was close to slipping through his fingers. It was a split call on the scorecards, and although he admits it could have gone the other way, Johnson said he ultimately wasn’t concerned about the result.

“I believe I won the first and the second round; I was not happy with the third round,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t worried that it wasn’t going to go my way. I just accept whatever is going to happen. I definitely thought it was possible that it wouldn’t go my way. But I know that everything happens for a reason, and I know that I’m here for a reason.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 127, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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