McGregor signing with Mayweather to box has unfortunately sucked pretty much all of the air out of all combat sports this summer, but looming just in the background of the MMA world are more questionable comments and actions from White. According to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, Dana White acted in a very Dana White manner by attempting to threaten and bully Johnson, and hold the entire flyweight division ransom, because “Mighty Mouse” – the most dominant reigning champion in the sport, and perhaps the most skilled fighter in its history – had the audacity to demand he fight a top contender, next, instead of an unranked, short-notice replacement in TJ Dillashaw, the former bantamweight champion.
In response to Johnson’s allegations, White did not deny the champion’s account at all, instead choosing to insult him through the media, to imply that Johnson – whose last headlining contest set attendance records in the city it was hosted in – was not worth promoting, wasn’t a draw, and any number of other muddled arguments meant to defame him.
White pointed to uncited pay-per-view numbers of Johnson events to bolster his claim that Johnson was not worth promoting, or something…
It’s a strange, if predictable, tack from the UFC executive.
If Dana White has a comparative argument to make based on pay-per-view numbers, it isn’t even worth beginning to listen to until he makes public all of his promotion’s pay-per-view buy numbers, and releases all future ones as well.
At that point, even if White is right about Johnson’s pay-per-view numbers, it certainly reflects a lot more poorly on his job performance than on Demetrious Johnson’s. If White and the UFC can’t figure out how to promote a good-looking, well-spoken, exciting fighter, who he himself has called the best in the world, and who can put literal asses in seats to the score of record numbers, then they aren’t very good promoters.
White seemed to be saying that Johnson’s supposedly low pay-per-view numbers are the fighter’s fault. That’s interesting, considering how often White tells fighters to “shut up” and fight, and that promoting and matchmaking is his job.
If that is White’s job, then Johnson’s job is to fight. Considering that Johnson has won 12-straight fights, hasn’t lost since 2011 and in another weight class, and that six of his last nine wins have been finishes, the champion is clearly doing his job and doing it well.
Dana White is the one not doing his in regards to promoting one of the most dominant and exciting champions in MMA history.
About the author:
Elias Cepeda is a host of Sports Illustrated’s Extra Rounds Podcast, a staff writer at FloCombat, and has a weekly column for The UG Blog.