The Ultimate Fighter, which announced its Season 24 tryouts to a good amount of fanfare and internet buzz. It also had a killer concept: The surviving contestant would earn a shot at the flyweight world title.
The only problem: No one in the UFC bothered to tell flyweight championDemetrious Johnson.
At least that’s what he is saying. The UFC’s longest-reigning current world champion told MMA Fighting Monday that at no point during the TUF process — which included conceiving the reality show season concept, developing the show with a television network and announcing the season — was he ever informed or consulted by the UFC about its season-ending clincher.
“The UFC didn’t tell me about this, I had no idea,” he said.
“It was like someone came to me and said, ‘Hey dude, did you know your wife was pregnant.’ And I’m like, ‘What the [expletive] do you mean my wife is pregnant?'”
Johnson claimed a fan online communicated the news to him through Twitch. And now the TUF season is on hold.
And while Johnson said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to fighting a winner of a TUF season, he just would have liked to have been told about the process. And for the cast to be filled with top contenders.
“I put 10 years into learning the craft of mixed martial arts, I’m not going to give it away to some Joe Schmoe,” he said.
The 29-year-old also said he wouldn’t mind coaching on the show — “maybe middleweights or whatever.” But flyweight? Forget about it.
“Coaching The Ultimate Fighter in my weight class, I couldn’t do it. I’d basically be coaching people to beat me,” Johnson continued. “I’m going to give you my riddle? This is what made me so successful, this is what enabled me to have seven title defenses. And why am I going to divulge that information to people?”
If what Johnson says is true — that the UFC developed and announced an entire reality show with the prize being a shot at the title he currently holds — it would be an almost incomprehensibly large oversight on the promotion’s part.
Though negligence of similar types isn’t uncommon: Multiple fighters have reported finding out that they’d lost their jobs through the internet instead of word from the UFC.
The timing of Johnson’s news, however, is not ideal, given that he’s in camp for his April 23 UFC 197 title defense against Henry Cejudo.
Still, Mighty Mouse insists that he has no hard feelings towards the UFC for what he says was their major lapse in communication. “I don’t take offense,” he concluded.
“I take care of Demetrious Johnson and the UFC takes care of themselves. That’s nothing against the UFC — they’re a well-oiled machine. They do an amazing job of advertising and making stars.
“All I can do is make sue Demetrious Johnson does the best he can on fight night and goes out and wins his fights.”