Dana White says UFC had Anthony Johnson under contract, but it was “in his best interest” to go to Bellator

Dana White, Jon Jones, John Oliver

UFC president Dana White says he had Anthony Johnson under contract, but that it was “in his best interest” to go to Bellator.

When news broke this week that Johnson was making a comeback to MMA with Bellator and not with the UFC, it surprised a lot of fans and media, who assumed that Johnson would want to make another title run in the Octagon. “Rumble” has been testing a comeback to the game for a little while now, and with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones leaving the UFC’s 205lbs weight class, it seemed like a prime opportunity for Johnson to make a run for the UFC light heavyweight title in 2021.

Instead, Johnson is taking his talents to Bellator, where he immediately becomes one of the promotion’s most recognizable stars. Still, it remains unclear how Johnson ended up in Bellator when he seemed poised to make a comeback with the UFC. Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, White from his point of view explained what led to Johnson’s release with the UFC and how he ended up signing with Bellator instead.

“Well, obviously first of all I have a good relationship with Anthony Johnson. I like him very much. He was under contract with us. I would have loved to have seen him compete here. I dunno (what happened). Use your imagination,” Dana White said.

Pressed to give more details about what happened that led Johnson to sign with Bellator, White would only say that “it was probably in his best interest.”

“I have a great relationship with him. I love the kid,” White said, doubling down on his admiration for Johnson.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Bellator made Johnson an offer he couldn’t refuse. With the UFC set to release 60 fighters, it seems like Johnson slipped through the cracks at a time when the UFC has its focuses elsewhere. In this case, the UFC’s loss is Bellator’s gain as Johnson has the opportunity to do big things there.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM