UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson may arguably be the pound for pound kingpin, however Johnson hasn’t found the same superstardom as fighters such as Conor McGregor or Anderson Silva, despite reigning as the one and only UFC flyweight kingpin for five years now.
While fighter pay is certainly one of the most controversial topics in MMA today, Demetrious Johnson didn’t shy away from discussing the topic during a recent interview with ESPN, when he spoke about CM Punk’s earnings in his UFC debut against Mickey Gall, where he lost in the first round:
“There is not another sport in the world where you can be the best at it but not get paid the best,” Johnson said. “I never wanted to say this before, but I don’t care anymore, and it’s just facts: When [former WWE star] CM Punk [Phil Brooks] signed with the UFC, people asked me how I felt about it, and I said, ‘CM Punk will probably make more money than I do on his very first fight.’ And he did. I think his payout was $500,000.”
“I have nothing against CM Punk, but if you look at the sheer nonsense of that, it doesn’t make sense. I know you have to look at the business standpoint, that he’s going to sell a lot of tickets, but he can’t fight! That’s why I’ve said the UFC should just try to sign that ‘Cash Me Ousside’ girl, because she’ll talk sh-t and probably outsell everybody.”
“A long time ago, my coach Matt Hume said, ‘Any UFC champion should clear $1 million per year.’ So say I fight twice a year and my paycheck for each is $400,000. The UFC should send me a bonus at the end of the year to get me to $1 million, for being champion. I know why the UFC runs the business the way they do. I know why Conor McGregor makes a base pay of $3 million. But I think I justify my pay with my skill set, and I’ve always been willing to promote my brand.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/17/2017.