John Dodson’s decision not to fight Pedro Munhoz at UFC Belem, and the question of whether Dodson would still get paid a portion of his salary were two hot topics this past weekend. The bantamweight contender is confident he did the right thing regarding the former, but as far as his compensation goes he’s as uncertain as everyone else.
Dodson successfully hit the 135-pound mark at Friday’s weigh-ins, while Munhoz came in four pounds over the limit. The Brazilian fighter blamed a lack of hot water for interfering with the final stages of his weight cut, but regardless of the excuse Dodson declined to step into the Octagon with Munhoz. Despite doing his part on the scale, the question was immediately raised as to whether Dodson would at the very least be paid his show money.
On Monday, Dodson appeared on The MMA Hour to tell his side of the story, which involved an apparent breakdown in communication with his management and the UFC. The first word he heard about not getting paid came from Twitter and Instagram.
“My management team didn’t even tell me anything and I was trying to get a hold of (UFC matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) and (UFC president) Dana (White) and both of them were kind of in the dark with me,” Dodson said. “That was the first thing that I heard [on social media] was ‘Hey, John Dodson’s not getting anything.’ Brandon Gibson was just sitting there and saying, ‘Aw man, this sucks, I can’t believe you traveled all the way out here for you to not go and get anything.’”
Reports later surfaced saying that Dodson would receive a portion of his show money, but as of Monday he still had not heard from any officials about whether he will be getting paid by the UFC, or Reebok for wearing their gear during the week.
This is the second time in his last four scheduled fights that Dodson’s opponent has missed weight, and the second time that such an occurrence has left a dent in his bank account. He went five rounds with John Lineker in the main event of UFC Portland in October 2016, a closely-fought encounter that ended with Lineker taking a split decision.
Backstage, Dodson was told that they would have won the $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus if Lineker hadn’t failed to make 135 pounds. Seeing his income affected by circumstances outside of his control is starting to take its toll on the perpetually smiling Dodson.
“It’s frustrating because what’s the point of having show money?,” Dodson asked. “They tell you to show up and that’s the money that they negotiate for the weight class and then you make that weight and your opponent misses and then you take 20 percent out of that show money.
“For me, technically, when they say ‘to show,’ I think it’s to show up and weigh in so that you can go prepare for a fight. And then they’re telling me that it’s not show money no more, it’s just whatever money. If that’s the case, then I can just go in at whatever weight class, take the penalty, and then go beat up somebody in the designed weight class that I said I was gonna be in.”
After Munhoz missed weight, Dodson and his team were still open to taking the fight. They also attempted to work out a new deal for Dodson, who was entering what would have been the final fight on his current UFC contract, and to ensure that Munhoz wouldn’t have a significant size advantage on fight night.
Neither proposition went far.
“If he’s that far overweight then that’s perfectly fine and then since this is the last fight on my contract, my management team decided to go ahead and cop a whole power play,” Dodson said. “Like, ‘Hey, if you want to go ahead and take this fight, let’s see if we can go ahead and renegotiate a contract.’ We told them that we’ll take the fight, we want a new contract, and then it was like a misunderstanding. They didn’t want to go ahead and do it and they just turned it down immediately. They shut that one down.
“I told them, ‘Okay, then I’ll still fight him, but he can’t be more than 142 the day of the fight. When we go check in at the venue, he can’t be more than 142 pounds and I’ll take it then, I’ll just go out and fight right then and there.’ Because I made weight, he doesn’t get to go ahead and re-hydrate because he didn’t make weight. And that was shut down too. So I was like, ‘Alright, then I’m not gonna fight.’”
The decision wasn’t an easy one for Dodson and he’s still interested in fighting Munhoz, a re-booking that has already been discussed for UFC 222 on March 3. More than just costing himself a pay check, “The Magician” regrets missing out on an opportunity to walk out at the Mangueirinho Arena and put on a show.
“It was sad because I didn’t go out and go do what I wanted to do,” Dodson said. “I love fighting, I love going out and being in front of the crowd, and I love entertaining. I just love being right there in the center of attention where all eyes are on me no matter what’s going to happen. Good, bad, whatever, I just wanted to sit there and do it.
“It’s upsetting and frustrating for me, because as a competitor and athlete, I just feel devastated. I didn’t get to go out there and do what I like to do. And then I’m running my mouth off saying I’m going to knock him out and here I didn’t get a chance to do it. I felt like a giant disappointment.”