clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Anthony Johnson explains his and Jon Jones' plot to punk Dana White

LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Johnson was the ringleader. He was the one who approached Jon Jones backstage at the UFC's Welcome to the Show press conference Saturday morning at Staples Center.

"We need to do something to get everybody going," Johnson told Jones.

Then, Jones had an idea. Why not re-enact the first part of the wild brawl Jones and Daniel Cormier had last August in the lobby of the MGM Grand during a press event? Jones said he would come in with a headbutt and Johnson would push him away. "Rumble" agreed.

There was just one problem. Dave Sholler, the UFC's senior vice president of public relations, wouldn't be the one moderating the staredown. Sholler was a victim in the Jones-Cormier skirmish, getting pushed aside despite trying to impede the much larger Jones from hitting Cormier.

No, it would be UFC president Dana White standing in the middle of Jones and Johnson. Jones wasn't too sure about going through with it, but "Rumble" was all in. Jones eventually came around.

So, when Jones and Johnson, the headliners of UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas, came together on stage for the faceoff, Jones put his forehead right on Johnson's and Johnson shoved him backward. White, a look of sheer terror on his face, got in between them. That's when Jones and Johnson busted out laughing. The two hugged. White looked relieved. He had just been pranked.

"If Dave was up there, it would have been perfect," Johnson said afterward. "It is what it is. I think it's even better, though, because it was Dana. You know, Dana is Mr. Billy Bad Ass. You can't do anything to him. He definitely damn near sh*t on himself."

Johnson said White let out a squeal when the two big light heavyweights feigned a fight. When asked to mimic it, "Rumble" was at a loss.

"I can't do it," he said. "It was so high. The pitch of his voice was so high, but the expression on his face was priceless."

Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, and Johnson will fight each other in just two months, but the two came together for the joke Saturday and get along extremely well. There doesn't figure to be any bad blood here like there was between Jones and Cormier. Johnson did the Fight Club fan Q&A on Friday and ripped fans a bit for talking bad about Jones with regards to his positive test for cocaine in January.

"Everybody makes mistakes," Johnson said. "Nobody is perfect. And everybody that's booing obviously thinks they're perfect or they don't think about the mistakes they've made. I don't think anybody should be pointing a finger at Jon or anybody else. You've gotta look at yourself before you shine a light on somebody else. I just don't like it."

Johnson, who knocked out Alexander Gustafsson in January to earn the title shot, was suspended last year pending an investigation in a domestic dispute. So perhaps he can relate.

"To me, he's a good guy," Johnson said. "I don't care what mistake he's made."

As for White, he seemed less than amused about getting punked at the UFC 184 post-fight press conference.

"They got me," White said, adding sarcastically: "It was funny. Very funny."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting