Dana White is known to be a very controversial figure in the MMA world for a multitude of reasons. This is mostly because of the way he has handled the issue of UFC fighters getting properly paid. This issue has been present for a long time and it seems Demetrious Johnson is more than aware of this as well. In fact, Johnson revealed just how less he was paid as the UFC Flyweight Champion.
Demetrious Johnson is acknowledged as one of the most exceptional martial artists in history. That being said, he didn’t get properly compensated during his tenure with UFC despite his unparalleled accomplishments.
Having secured the title of UFC’s inaugural Flyweight Champion by defeating Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152, Johnson went on to establish himself as one of the most successful fighters in the promotion’s history, setting a record for the highest number of title defenses (11) and securing the top spot on the pound-for-pound fighter rankings.
Despite his numerous achievements, including being recognized as the best fighter in the world by the UFC, Johnson did not receive appropriate compensation for his efforts, despite his unparalleled success within the organization.
While speaking on his YouTube channel, Demetrious Johnson talked about Francis Ngannou’s exit from the UFC and what Dana White said afterwards. He then revealed the kind of money he used to earn while being the Flyweight Champion, which was insultingly low, to say the least.
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 fought 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. That’s where a champion makes the most bang for their buck, the 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. You’re going to make a s*** load of money. I never got the opportunity to do that.
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. That’s why I came out with that, basically pushing back, because when does a champion have leverage? When does a champion get what is due to them? 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’s where that chip on my shoulder came from.”
Johnson was traded to ONE Championship back in 2018 and has remained with the company ever since. Regardless, we will have to wait and see whether Dana White will ever increase the payment he gives to his fighters in the future.
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