clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Demetrious Johnson: MMA only sport that blames athletes for promotional failure

Esther Lin

LOS ANGELES -- Demetrious Johnson has heard the criticism before, and he knows he'll hear it again this week.

The UFC flyweight champion is widely regarded as one of the premiere pound-for-pound mixed martial artists on the planet, often trailing only UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and longtime UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo in major polls.

But his pay-per-views and his buyrates haven't matched his success inside the Octagon. And with what many consider a weak UFC 186 card on Saturday night in Montreal headlined by Johnson's title defense against the talented-but-unheralded Kyoji Horiguchi, Johnson has braced himself for the inevitable questions.

The champ has chosen to counter with a question for his questioners.

"Of all the sports, this is the only sport scrutinized where it falls all on the athlete," Johnson told reporters Monday. "Why does it always come down to blaming the athlete for not selling the product?"

In this case, it would be especially tough to blame "Mighty Mouse" if the card isn't a big seller, because the event has gone through several major changes since it was originally announced.

Among the changes, the original main event of bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw vs. former champ Renan Barao was scrapped due to a Barao injury; Montreal's Rory MacDonald's bout with Hector Lombard was scrapped when the latter popped for steroids and was suspended, and a court injunction is keeping Quinton "Rampage" Jackson out of a planned fight with Fabio Maldonado.

That left what was originally a deep card with the Johnson-Horiguchi fight as the headliner and Michael Bisping vs. C.B. Dollaway as the co-feature.

It's all maddening to a fighter who just wants to fight.

"When I got into this sport, I thought all I had to do was beat people and finish fights and everything else would take care of itself," Johnson said.

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