Conor McGregor doesn’t want the UFC to close its flyweight division. The former UFC lightweight & featherweight champion and combat sports superstar is brimming with concern for the “greed” that “has directly cost more than half a fighting division it’s chance to earn income for their family.”
Whose greed? Not Dana White’s — who, from the sound of it, has been unhappy for some time with a division he’s never found a way to properly monetize. And not Demetrious Johnson — even though the former long-reigning flyweight champion seemed more than happy to jump ship from the UFC into the welcoming arms of ONE Championship.
No, not either of them. Instead, the greed McGregor singled out was apparently that of ONE Championship founder and president Chatri Sityodtong. Who had the temerity to… sign Demetrious Johnson to a contract after the UFC willingly let him go?
It’s not a line of thinking that makes much sense to Johnson, as he explained in a recent interview with BJ Penn Radio (transcript via MMA Fighting):
“I don’t get where this logic comes behind that,” Johnson said of McGregor’s comments over social media. “What makes him think Chatri owes somebody something?”
“If he’s worried flyweights losing their jobs, I’m pretty sure he has a huge stake in the UFC company now. I’m sure he can go to Dana, and be like Dana, ‘Keep these guys, these guys are fucking amazing. Let’s try to do this right. Let’s try to promote them.’ Facilitate a meeting of those who can [change things], with Proper Whiskey. ‘Let’s sit down and have a good talk.’ I’m sure he could come up with something if he really wanted to do it.”
“As I said, that’s Conor’s opinion of what he thinks should happen. This is a guy who just business, you know, the Barclay’s Center [thing], throwing the dolly in the bus, hurting multiple people. I truly think he doesn’t care. But that’s just my personal opinion.”
Johnson is currently preparing to make his ONE Championship debut, likely sometime early in 2019, as part of a planned 8-man flyweight Grand Prix tournament. He’s one of several fighters to make the jump to the Asian MMA organization, including Eddie Alvarez and, most recently, Sage Northcutt.
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news on his potential debut date and opponent. And of course, for more news on the UFC’s continued termination of flyweight contracts as they slowly purge DJ’s old division from their roster.