On Monday, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson spoke out against the MMA giant in regards to him being bullied and mistreated by Dana White and the promotion.
While Johnson’s fellow flyweights supported him, top names in the sport haven’t. Until now.
Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, who’ll be a ringside analyst for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 110 featuring a heavyweight main event between Derrick Lewis and Mark Hunt, says the pound-for-pound great wasn’t out of line for saying what he did.
She told Sporting News:
I feel for Demetrious Johnson. He’s not wrong in what he’s saying at all. He’s really making some very valid points that you make kind of go hmmm . . . It makes you think at the very least.
I don’t know if the UFC hasn’t put as much marketing into the men’s 125-pound division because they just don’t care about it or really because we have tried and just for some reason [hasn’t worked]. Personally, I love the small guys. They’re my favorite guys to watch fight. They’re so busy. There’s so much action. It’s like three fights in one every time I watch Demetrious Johnson fight. I think he’s incredible.
The main criticism UFC has faced since the introduction of the flyweights is the lack of knockouts within the division, which keeps them from drawing money because they aren’t heavyweights.
Tate disagrees with that notion. She feels the same way Johnson and the other flyweights do because of how she was marketed for some of her fights.
“The general public wants to see big guys throwing heavy punches with knockouts,” Tate said. “So not everyone appreciates art that is actually in fights. Smaller guys’ fights, you have more of that.
“He’s not wrong in what he’s saying. I think that he is justified in saying, like, ‘Hey, there’s not as much promotion put behind me.’ I felt that way before about some of my fights and different (fights) I have noticed there’s not much marketing behind it. There’s definitely not as much marketing in the men’s 125-pound division.”
UFC hasn’t commented since the 125-pound champion spoke out.
There is one other side of the argument, too: that UFC did try to promote Johnson but didn’t get the reaction it anticipated.
“Now, like I said in the UFC’s case, maybe they have tried and it just doesn’t go anywhere,” Tate said. “Maybe they just don’t find success no matter how much they put in and it’s just like, ‘Why, every time we post about this it gets way more attention than when we post about this.'”
It’s obvious Johnson is frustrated. It is a shame more people don’t recognize how good he really is. Tate feels that if “Mighty Mouse” wants to speak his piece, then so be it.
“I can empathize with DJ’s frustration because pound-for-pound he’s one of the best champions this world has ever seen, that martial arts has ever seen,” she said. “And it’s disheartening people don’t appreciate that because he’s smaller. I think if Demetrious Johnson wants to speak up and say his mind and whatnot, I don’t think he’s said anything incorrect.”