Former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson clears the air on the UFC pay-per-view points system and why it contributed to him leaving the UFC.
For many years Demetrious Johnson was the number-one fighter in the UFC. He was atop the pound-for-pound ratings and was rolling through opponents in the flyweight division. In 2018 Johnson was involved in a shocking trade between the UFC and ONE Championship. The UFC received Ben Askren for Johnson in the trade. Johnson had been having a difficult time in his relationship with the UFC at the time and was happy to be free of that organization.
Since joining ONE Championship, Johnson has become the ONE Championship flyweight champion, but now is looking back at some of the issues he had with the UFC that led him to leave.
Demetrious Johnson gives a whole rundown on the UFC’s pay structure and having to fight for PPV points
Throughout Johnson’s career with the UFC he had been dominant. He came into the UFC and quickly won the flyweight belt. He defended it 11 times before finally losing to Henry Cejudo. All of his success was actually a detriment to his career because the UFC began to grow unhappy with the fact that he was clearing out the division. They accused him of not being a draw and even threatened to close the flyweight division at one point. Johnson recalls having to fight for PPV points, a bump up in pay that is usually given to champions pretty early on in their title runs.
“I fought for pay-per-view points because that’s where you start making that next wealth,” he said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “like sh-t, Jon Jones hasn’t fought in what, two, three years, and he’s made all that money in pay-per-view points. So, for me, I fought. I was like, I want pay-per-view points, even though I don’t draw, I mean, hopefully, one day I am a draw. But if I land on a Conor fight, or Jon Jones fight, or whatever, that’s going to bring in 825,000 pay-per-view buys, and you make 350k. And then the pay-per-view structure is zero to 200-$0 to 2 to 4- $1, 4 to 6- $1.50, 6 to 8-$2 you add all that up, you’re walking out with a $2 million paycheck.”
Johnson is in a much better position now at ONE Championship. He feels that there is a better line of communication between himself and the brass in his new promotion. In reality, during his UFC days, he should have been one of the highest-paid fighters, but instead, he only received the points for his bout with Cejudo, the one he lost which turned out to be the last in the promotion. Many people, including Joe Rogan, think Johnson is the best MMA fighter of all time. He continues to show that as he fights in ONE Championship. His next scheduled bout is in May against Adriano Moraes.