Freelance: UFC to Possibly Close Men’s Flyweight Division
UFC flyweight (125-pound) champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson has been a company man for the organization but seems to have had enough of their less-than-stellar relationship behind the scenes. Johnson most recently tied the overall UFC title defense record (10) back in April after it was originally set by Anderson “The Spider” Silva. UFC President Dana White wants him to face former bantamweight (135-pound) champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Dillashaw has never once fought at 125 pounds and the champion also isn’t sure that he can make the weight if they fight. So, Johnson has refused to play ball because if Dillashaw doesn’t make weight, the bout would no longer have the belt on the line and would ruin Johnson’s chance to break that title defense record.
The champion echoed these thoughts today (June 7) by saying, “Is this f*cking amateur hour? This is the shit you do at smokers and amateur shows. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of mixed martial arts and this is what we’re negotiating?”
He would rather face contender Ray “The TazMexican Devil” Borg (who is 2-1 between 2016-17 and 5-1since June of 2014 but has missed weight multiple times,) but the UFC is only offering him as a back-up to Dillashaw. Per Johnson, the UFC then threatened to close down their flyweight division. Johnson released a full a statement regarding the situation to MMAFighting.com prior to appearing on The MMA Hour web show on June 5.
Read the statement in its entirety here.
In part, Johnson also addressed his marketability, as he has not been a huge pay-per-view draw to date, an issue that he says is the promotion’s fault and claims that in recent direct conversations with UFC co-matchmaker Sean Shelby and UFC President Dana White that they have a lack of desire to promote flyweights. As far as a fight with Dillashaw goes, Johnson is not a fan of the potential challenger jumping rank in his divisional debut.
He said, “Sorry Dana, my career is about Demetrious Johnson and my goals of fighting the best current flyweights, breaking the record of title defenses, going after the bantamweight champion after I have broken the record, and making money for my family. My career is not about doing for Dana’s buddy, who is neither a bantamweight champion or flyweight contender. We ended by disagreeing and left it there…”
In the eyes of many, the threat by the organization to axe Johnson’s division (which in fairness he has cleaned out on his way to his ten defenses, beating multiple opponents twice) is just a tactic to get Johnson to fold and do what they want. He responded with, “Close the mother****ing division then.”
The promotion has not released a statement regarding the situation at this time.
What is ironic is that the UFC is currently set to open a women’s flyweight division through the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, crowning an inaugural. Tryouts have already been held, filming is set to begin in July, and the finished product will air later in the year. Typically, there are two seasons of the show aired in a year with the finale of the second taking place in December.