Demetrious Johnson tears into UFC

June 5, 2017

Demetrious Johnson is speaking out about his claimed mistreatment in the UFC.  In a statement issued to MMA Fighting he talked about how the UFC has not pushed him and being told that “smaller fighters” do not sell.

According to the statement, Johnson stated that he was given an ultimatum that he fight T.J. Dillashaw or the UFC would close down the 125 pound division.

He outlined the issues he had with the UFC:

In summary:

I agreed to their tyrannical demand to fight Ray Borg and Ray also agreed.

UFC has refused to give me PPV points on any future flyweight bouts, and has never given me any PPV points on previous bouts. My request was fair and the matchmaker in charge of the flyweight and bantamweight division agreed.

I gave UFC fair conditions to change the fight to TJ Dillashaw and they refused.

Dana and Sean have told me that they have no interest in marketing me or the smaller divisions, so when they say that I will make PPV money vs. Dillashaw, they leave out the fact that I have to hit certain numbers of buys, which will not be hit if they fail in marketing me like they have in my previous fights.

If TJ doesn’t make weight, I can’t break the record for the most consecutive title defenses and they have denied paying me in that circumstance.

Dana has made an effort to bully me in the media as well as in private, in order to get what he wants, even though it is not what is best for me or the sport.

If Dana says this will be a big PPV fight for me, and that they will promote it properly, then he can pay for it up front and explain to Ray Borg why he is being taken out of the fight that the UFC matchmaker in charge of the division put him in. Otherwise, it is just another lie and attempt to bully me to do something that Dana wants, but is not the right thing to do for the sport or my career.

UFC’s track record in making an effort to promote my fights, and Dana’s claim that this is a big chance for PPV dollars for me tells a different story than what Dana is stating to the public.

Will the squeaky mouse get the cheese?

Payout Perspective:

We will have more after his interview today on The MMA Hour.  But Johnson has a legitimate gripe and is speaking out.  He’s been a good “company man” and didn’t make a big issue with losing XBox as a sponsor due to the Reebok deal only to see the UFC partner with the company.  From the UFC’s perspective, they are making business decisions based on the results (i.e., ratings/buy rates) they have received.  You can argue that Johnson has not been marketed by the UFC.  He is one of the best pound for pound fighters ever.  Yet, there’s little to know buzz about him as he does not sell fights like a Conor McGregor.  If XBox felt that DJ was worthy of an exclusive sponsorship, why didn’t the UFC push him or continue to find ways to connect him with UFC fans?  It seems that at one point, they decided to shift focus on which fighters to push and moved on from DJ.  There is the argument that the “smaller fighters” do not sell.  I do applaud Sean Shelby (if true) for telling DJ the truth.  But, he had to have known that this would come out to the public.

Below is a summary of DJ’s career in the UFC with applicable pay (only the official purses reported are below), bonuses and Reebok pay as well as ratings and buy rates.  It’s clear that he received a bump in pay as a champion but is not commanding the dollars up front.  If he’s not receiving PPV points (and he wouldn’t make that much anyways), it does appear he is underpaid for his accomplishments.

UFC 126 (appeared on Facebook prelim)

$5,000 to show/$5,000 to win

UFC 130 (Spike TV prelim card)

$6,000 to show/$6,000 to win

Ratings: 325,000 PPV buys (Rampage-Hamill main event)

UFC on Versus 6: vs. Dominick Cruz

Ratings: 729,000 viewers on Versus TV

UFC on FX 2 vs. Ian MacCall

$50,000 Fight of the Night Bonus

Ratings: 1.4 million viewers on FX

UFC on FX 3: Rematch with McCall

$40,000 to show/$40,000 to win

Ratings 1.1 million viewers on Fox

UFC 152 vs. Joseph Benavidez

Ratings: 452,000 PPV buys (Jones-Belfort main)

$50,000 Fight of the Night Bonus

Ratings:  4.4 million viewers Live + SD

UFC on Fox 8 (Seattle): vs. John Moraga

$29,000 to show/$29,000 to win plus $50,000 submission of the night bonus

Ratings: 2.38 million viewers Live +SD

UFC on Fox 9 vs. Joseph Benavidez II

$125,000 to show/$50,000 to win plus $50,000 KO of the night bonus

Ratings:  2.8 million viewers Live + SD

UFC 174 vs. Ali Bagautinov

PPV buy rate: 115,000

UFC 178 vs. Cris Cariaso

$131,000 to show/54,000 win bonus

PPV buy rate: 205,000

UFC 186 vs. Kyoji Horiguchi

$50,000 Performance of the Night

PPV buy rate: 125,000

UFC 191 vs. John Dodson II

$133,000 to show/$58,000 win bonus

Reebok pay: $40,000

PPV buy rate:  115,000

*Xbox sponsors the UFC, but not DJ for the first time in years during his time in the UFC.

UFC 197 vs. Henry Cejudo

$135,000 to show/$60,000 win bonus

Reebok pay:  $40,000

Performance of the Night $50,000

PPV buy rate 322,000 (Jon Jones-OSP on top)

TUF Tournament of Americas Final vs. Tim Elliott

$350,000 flat

Reebok pay:  $40,000

UFC on Fox 24 vs. Wilson Reis

$50,000 Performance of the Night

Reebok pay:  $40,000

Ratings: 1.74M viewers (lowest Fox rating ever)

7 Responses to “Demetrious Johnson tears into UFC”

  1. TopsE on June 5th, 2017 3:56 PM

    Its going down…mutiny brewing….funny johnson said he got inspired to take a stand because of what the speakers said during the retreat hahahaha,emanuels idea just cause dw dictatorship hahaha…good for fighters,fertitas saw whats going to happen and cashed out

  2. Fight Fan on June 5th, 2017 4:58 PM

    Cashed out is an understatement tops lol. They ran for the hills and are laughing to the bank. Ufc is carrying way too much debt with no product to sell ppvs. How desperate they are shows when they have their biggest fighter McTapper competing in another sport lol. Game over

  3. d on June 5th, 2017 8:22 PM

    Topps and FF, brothers in delusional thinking.

    Game over is where boxing’s been at ever since May-Pac ended the sport. Hahaha.

    Speaking of debt, how’s PBC doing? Hahaha.

  4. d on June 5th, 2017 8:32 PM

    The issue with Johnson is that he is not a draw. He’s being marketed fairly. The guy has been champ forever and has never done even remotely decent ppv numbers, despite headlining a number of them. His ppvs are just over 100k buys typically. he’s arguably the lowest selling champion they’ve had in the past decade. He was paid 350k against Tim Elliott. I’d say that’s pretty fair. Most people don’t realize, he has the ppv points in his contract, but in order to receive anything, he likely has to hit about 250k-300k buys. He doesn’t come close to that because he’s a poor draw. That’s on him, not the UFC.

    In his defense though, White is completely out of line trashing him and other fighters as well the way he does. There was no need to bad mouth him like that.

  5. TopsE on June 6th, 2017 1:45 AM

    Hahahaha…with fighters standing up to dw…will there come a time that he would get beat up? That would be funny hahaha

  6. Marco Contreras on June 6th, 2017 8:13 AM

    Interesting times we will see if UFC can survive this time especially when the network deal will be thier lifeline

    Interesting enough how as the UFC is having huge marketing problems , while Eddie Hearn is killing it in boxing

  7. d on June 7th, 2017 6:30 PM

    Eddie Hearn is killing it in boxing? HAHAHAHAHA!!! Because he did one fight that had the financial success of an mid level UFC ppv? Unreal.

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