One of the biggest stories of the week thus far has surrounded a scathing, tell-all statement released by UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. In this statement, the champ blasts the UFC and its president Dana White for attempting to force him into a fight with former bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, rather than letting him fight established flyweight contender Ray Borg. It also criticizes the UFC for failing to promote his division or his fights in an adequate way. Finally, Johnson also claimed in the statement that White threatened to close the division if he didn’t play ball.
Needless to say, it was not a particularly good look for White or the UFC.
Since Johnson released this headline-generating statement, many members of the flyweight division have spoken up, weighing in on his comments, and the apparent risk of the flyweight division’s closure.
“That’s actually where I gained respect for him,” Borg said. “And some fans are seeing it. Because he is respecting the division, and the rankings by wanting to fight me.”
Another top flyweight to chime in was recent title challenger Henry Cejudo, who assured that he’d welcome Dillashaw to the flyweight division if Johnson wasn’t interested.
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) June 5, 2017
Tim Elliot, who also recently battled Johnson for the title – and arguably gave him the toughest test of his title reign thus far – also chimed in.
I think I’ll fight at 135 if they close it! The lack of respect for the flyweights, is shitty. That’s just how shit goes!
— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) June 6, 2017
So too did Ben Nguyen, one of the brightest prospects in the division. Though he understands he might not have a job soon, he’s happy somebody spoke up.
Might not have a job after all this but I’m glad somebody spoke up. https://t.co/D3Nkzmbb4K
— Ben 10 Nguyen (@Ben10MMA) June 5, 2017
Lastly, Johnson’s comments generated a response from Zach Makovsky who, though no longer under contract with the UFC, remains one of the flyweight division’s best fighters.
Although I really would like to see DJ vs TJ, they’re doing,one of the best ever, a huge disservice treating him & the division this way https://t.co/FSYfStYMrY
— Zachary Makovsky (@ZachFunSize) June 5, 2017
What do you make of the sticky situation at flyweight? Does Demetrious Johnson deserve to be treated better?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/7/2017.