Demetrious Johnson is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters of all time, but during his run with the UFC, he certainly wasn’t paid like it.
After becoming the UFC’s first-ever flyweight champion by beating Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152, Johnson went on to become one of the most accomplished fighters in promotional history, setting the record for most title defenses (11) and climbing to the top of the pound-for-pound fighter list. Johnson’s many achievements and UFC calling him the greatest fighter in the universe, however, it seems that the promotion didn’t pay him as much.
Johnson discussed his exit from UFC, his compensation during his time as UFC flyweight champion and his salary.
“When I fought Dominick Cruz [for the bantamweight title] I was under contract, I was fighting for $14,000 [to show] and $14,000 [to win],” Johnson explained. “I lost to Cruz, so I made 14K. Then I was about fight Eddie Wineland and that didn’t go through so I fought Ian McCall in Australia, and I was on the same contract. Then, I got a new contract when I fought Ian McCall for the second time, I think I got bumped up to $20,000 and $20,000.
” I beat Ian McCall, and then I faced Joseph Benavidez. Then I was still on that $20,000 and $20,000, so when I fought John Dodson I made $23,000 and $23,000. Then when I fought John Moraga, I think it was $23,000 and $23,000 so it probably went $26,000 and $26,000. Then when I fought Joseph Benavidez, I think it was $30,000 and $30,000. Then I finally got a new contract as champion, and I think it was $125,000 and $50,000, but I couldn’t get pay-per-view points. This is where champions get the best bang for their bucks, pay-per view points. Because if you get on a card with Conor McGregor and he does 2. 1 million buys, you just do the f****** math. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I never got the opportunity to do that.”
Johnson is open and honest about the UFC’s issues, which mostly revolve around respect and pay. Things really began to deteriorate in 2017 when the UFC wanted to book a superfight between Johnson and then bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, but Johnson felt the promotion was bullying him. And as he explained once again, the UFC’s unwillingness to open up the checkbook was a big part of the problem.
“So, when they tried to stiff-arm me into fighting T.J. Dillashaw, I was like, ‘Yeah, pay me a f****** million dollars, and I’ll do it,” Johnson said. “This is a super fight, let’s make some super money.’ They never wanted to do that. This is why I came up with it, which basically pushes back. Because when can a champion leverage? What happens when a champion gets what they deserve? Going back to my seventh or eighth title defense, you’ve got f****** CM Punk over here who is making 500 bones and it’s his second fight in the UFC. That is .”
where the chip on my shoulder comes from.
Johnson’s issues with the promotion soon came to an end as, after losing his flyweight title to Henry Cejudo in 2018, Johnson was traded to ONE Championship, where he has remained ever since.
Johnson recently reclaimed the ONE flyweight title with a sensational knockout of Adriano Moraes at ONE on Prime 1, and “Mighty Mouse” will look to do it again when he faces Moraes in a trilogy bout at ONE Fight Night 10 on May 5.
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
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My side of the story… pic.twitter.com/ipIRgm2x73
— Rafael “Ataman” Fiziev (@RafaelFiziev) January 18, 2023
Being a professional fighter is a terrible career choice. This is the kind of stuff you will be dealing with for the rest of your life.
— michael (@bisping) January 18, 2023
Any of these would make for a lot of fun.
3 guys said they’re down to scrap. Hope to get one locked in! You can request one now! @iangarryMMA @Nikohybridprice @alexmoronomma
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Mike Perry on the Jake Paul-Tommy Fury reports.
They were gonna pay me to be a stand in for the fight but I pretty much spit that money in their face when I posted the info, fyi
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Leaders of the pack . I have to take over this generation! 2 more wins I’m tied for the most wins in UFC’s MW history ! Know your history pic.twitter.com/zh2YCIFOkW
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) January 18, 2023
Totally normal sport.
USADA came today. After going, I accidentally spilled some of my drink and had to wait until it was ready to be refilled. I decided to accelerate the process by using dump to collect some dribbles for David, but he still had to be there to see me dropping the Cosby’s at the pool. Sometimes compromise is not the best thing.
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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
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