Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson successfully defended his flyweight championship belt for the 10th time, and he wants the UFC to pay for it. Johnson tied the UFC record for consecutive title defenses. Considered to be the No. 1 pound for pound fighter in the UFC, Mighty Mouse now thinks he should be paid like he’s No. 1.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) April 16, 2017
Johnson took on Wilson Reis at UFC Fight Night in Kansas City for what was supposed to be a five-round battle. Demetrious nearly finished the fight at the end of Round 2 but Reis was spared by the clock. In round 3, Wilson Reis wasn’t so fortunate. As Johnson worked the ground and pound with just seconds left, he transitioned to an arm bar that had Reis tapping.
Inside the octagon during his post-fight interview, Johnson gave the standard thanks to his coaches and love to his family before ending his moment of glory with a call out to the UFC.
“I need seven figures,” Demetrious said. “I’m out here whooping [guys] and cleaning it up.”
According to Fox Sports, Saturday night’s win puts Johnson on par with Anderson Silva, a UFC fighter who was long considered the greatest of all time. While Anderson Silva was highly revered, he wasn’t necessarily paid like he was either.
According to MMA Junkie, Anderson Silva’s biggest UFC purse was $800,000 for his UFC 183 fight against Nate Diaz. Silva has also been the main event on several pay-per-view cards and his appearances have generated a lot of revenue for the UFC. Demetrious Johnson’s pay-per-view outings, however, have resulted in dismal sales.
Johnson has proven he is a well-rounded fighter. And Saturday night, Mighty Mouse came out firing on all cylinders, outclassing Reis in both stand up and ground control. So what is keeping Demetrious from getting paid the big money? Simply put, fans and other fighters have complained that while Johnson is incredibly talented in the octagon, he lacks personality outside of it. In short, they say Demetrious Johnson is too boring to sell fights.
Fellow fighter Geane Herrera brought it up following his surprise victory as a stand in for TUF 22 Finale. At the time, Herrera was on top of the world and thought he would be giving Demetrious Johnson a run for his money in the near future, so he felt so inclined to comment on what keeps Mighty Mouse from the big show.
“The champ is the champ. The man has earned his spot numerous times. All respect to him, but he’s very boring,” Herrera said of Johnson while speaking to MMA Junkie Radio. “He doesn’t generate that interest in people. Like I always say, it doesn’t matter how great of a fighter you are if nobody knows who you are or wants to watch you fight.”
When it comes to making the big bucks, it appears that there is more than sheer talent involved in the decision. The UFC is paying more money to the fighters with big egos and even bigger personalities. The biggest purses of $3 million each have gone to Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Ronda Rousey, in fact, was paid that much to return to the octagon after losing her belt.
In a past press conference for UFC 191, Johnson tried to keep his chin up about those who didn’t seem to appreciate what he had to offer.
“It’s only the fans and uneducated fools out there that say, ‘Oh, you’re boring,'” Demetrious Johnson told MMA Junkie. “You can say so, but you just don’t understand what I’m doing. There’s a process going on with the technique I bring to the table.”
At the end of Saturday night’s fight, Demetrious Johnson’s victory and request for seven figures followed by an unintelligible rant might have shown he has some personality after all, especially considering if Johnson successfully defends his title again, he will make his own way in UFC history.
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Images]