A flyweight title fight between Johnson vs. Borg won’t take the headline slot on October 7th.
Edmonton’s loss was Las Vegas’ gain when a flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg schedule for UFC 214 ended up getting cancelled last minute due to illness. The fight was quickly rescheduled for UFC 216 on October 7th … the only question remaining after that was whether the fight would become the new main event over an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.
Now we know: according to MMA Fighting, Ferguson vs. Lee will remain the main event, putting Johnson vs. Borg into the co-main slot. Typically in the event of multiple title bouts on a card, the fights are sorted with the heaviest weight class at the top of the card. But in the past, the UFC has put ‘real’ belt fights above interim belt fights, like at UFC 200 when Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes for the women’s bantamweight title was above Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title.
The lack of clear protocol is undoubtedly going to lead some to assume this is UFC president Dana White slighting Demetrious Johnson once again. Johnson recently earned White’s ire by refusing to face former bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw in what would have been TJ’s first fight at flyweight. Things got so bad off arguments stemming from that moment that rumor had it the UFC considered shutting down the entire flyweight division.
While that may not be happening, this latest move certainly reinforces the perception that the UFC doesn’t put much stock in their flyweights, even when the champion is on the verge of breaking the record for most consecutive title defenses in a row.