Demetrious Johnson wants to be guaranteed TJ Dillashaw’s purse if Dillashaw can’t make weight, which is just fine with Dillashaw if it gets the fight made.
What started as a seemingly unremarkable call-out has turned into a much more volatile power struggle for the organization. The UFC was quick to pounce on the idea of a T.J. Dillashaw vs. Demetrious Johnson matchup, as a more appetizing fight offering than Johnson vs. any of the upcoming title challengers at 125. Johnson, however, has been less than receptive to the idea.
In a recent extended public statement, Johnson gave his side of ongoing negotiations with the UFC. Along with his desire to fight an established flyweight contender, or potentially even bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, he laid out some conditions under which a fight with TJ Dillashaw might be possible.
Mick spoke to me to try to change the offer from Ray to TJ. I told Mick that I thought TJ should fight once in the division first, prove he can make the weight and get a win at that weight, then fight me if I wasn’t already busy with Cody. Mick agreed that it made the most sense.
Later Mick called again, as mandated by Dana, to try to make the fight with TJ and drop Ray. We told him that we didn’t think TJ would make the weight and the fight would be off since it would no longer be a title fight without TJ making weight. Mick said they guaranteed that TJ would make weight. We told him that since it was guaranteed by TJ and UFC was demanding and putting me in a bad circumstance, then it is fair that if TJ didn’t make weight, the fight would be off and I would still get my guarantee, plus TJ’s guaranteed pay. Mick said that Ray would be on the card and he could fill in if TJ didn’t make weight. We said, oh, then which one do I train for? I thought TJ guaranteed he was making weight. Is it a world championship with the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on earth, or an amateur tournament where I don’t know who I’m fighting until I get there. Obviously there was no guarantee and they just wanted to push me to do something that they knew wasn’t a good choice for my career. The “guarantees” that they made had nothing to back them up and they were unwilling to give a real guarantee to compensate me for all the damage I put on my body preparing for a fight that may not happen. The fact that they said Ray will be a backup shows the lack of respect they have for what we go through in preparing for a fight at this level.
Taking a test fight at 125 may not be on the table for TJ, but it seems the former bantamweight champion is willing to give Demetrious Johnson some of the other provisions the flyweight champion demanded to try and get a fight booked. He’s been working any angle he can since Cody Garbrandt fell out of their planned UFC 213 title fight and while the UFC hasn’t shown much interest in negotiating with ‘Mighty Mouse,’ Dillashaw sounds ready.
In a recent interview with Brett Okamoto for his Five Rounds podcast, Dillashaw said he’d absolutely agree to give up his purse in the event that he misses weight (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“I’m gonna make it. I have the utmost confidence,” Dillashaw said. “I know that I’m gonna make it. I’ve never missed weight once in my entire life or my career going from wrestling from eight years old through all my professional career. If I agree to do something, I’m doing it. I’m a very dedicated athlete and like I said, I’m already waking up at 143 pounds. That’s not big of a weight cut at all. I think it’s just an easy excuse.
“100 percent. Put that [stipulation] in there. I’m not gonna miss the weight. That’s not something I have to be worried about at all. I’ve already got it down to a perfect science of what I’m gonna be doing. So yeah, go ahead and put it in the contract because I’m not gonna miss weight.”
Will Dillashaw’s offer hold any sway with the UFC? They already appear to have told DJ that promising him TJ’s purse was off the table. There seems to be little mutual ground between promotion and fighter right now. It remains to be seen if either party is willing to climb down or if the relationship continues to fracture into something un-repairable.