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11th Jun 2017

Dana White uses Conor McGregor claim in public spat with Demetrious Johnson

He's in the minority here

Darragh Murphy

This is only going to get uglier.

Demetrious Johnson is not one to shit-talk but he felt enough was enough as discussions over his next fight descended into chaos.

It’s almost universally accepted that the only flyweight champion in the UFC’s history is also the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world just due to how dominant he’s been in the 125lbs division.

There are others in the conversation, primarily Jon Jones and Conor McGregor, but few put that pair above the technically flawless ‘Mighty Mouse’.

Johnson released an uncharacteristically strong-worded statement last week in which he slammed UFC president Dana White and the marketing machine that, according to Johnson, is failing him despite the fact that he’s the best in the world.

After claiming that the promotion was attempting to force him into a fight with former UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, Johnson branded White a bully.

And, on Saturday night, White hit back.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, the face of the UFC claimed that he had it on good authority that Johnson was lying in his statement.

“My guy Mick, who is one of our guys who has been handling that, he said most of what [Johnson] said was not true, number one,” White said, as transcribed by MMA Fighting.

“Number two, the bottom line is Demetrious Johnson is in line right now — first of all, when he did his deal, he didn’t want pay-per-view (points). He didn’t want pay-per-view. He wanted up front money, no pay-per-view.

“He wasn’t very confident in his abilities to sell pay-per-views. He has the lowest selling pay-per-view in the history of the UFC in the modern era, so, number one.

“Number two, I think that a fight between him and T.J. Dillashaw would be something that people would actually be interested in, and could sell pay-per-views and could make money, but he absolutely refuses to fight the guy. It’s ridiculous.”

On the accusation of a lack of promotion of ‘Mighty Mouse’, White had this to say.

“We’re not marketing him right?” White said. “We built a TV show around him. The Ultimate Fighter (24) was about what an incredible fighter he is. We’ve put him on FOX many times and tried to build him, and it is what it is. It’s not me. I’m bullying you? How do you bully the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world?”

Never one to shy away from an argument, White concluded his interview by throwing a little dig in Johnson’s direction as he insisted that he didn’t feel his flyweight champion was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

That honour, according to White, belongs to the company’s most reliable cash-cow, Conor McGregor.

“Listen, the media claims he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world,” White said. “I think Conor McGregor is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

“If you look at what that really means, what pound-for-pound means, and Conor doesn’t give a shit, he’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime.

“And if Demetrious is the pound-for-pound best guy in the world, then fight T.J. Dillashaw. Fight somebody that people will actually care about and be interested in, and there you go.”