After a suspension that followed an arrest for domestic abuse on April 9, 2014, lightweight fighter Michael Johnson has been reinstated by the UFC. The change occurred after a “thorough review and investigation – including personal interviews with Johnson and independent confirmation that he has satisfied all obligations required by the UFC.” Because domestic abuse is a “violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy,” the UFC “temporarily barred [him] from competition pending the completion of a third-party investigation.” But that investigation is over, and Johnson has been embraced once again as a fighter in good standing.
Granted, the UFC’s statement is a bit vague. On its face, it is unclear what “obligations” the UFC required from Johnson, and whether the third-party investigation actually tended to affirm his innocence. But the UFC points out that it will “continue to monitor Johnson’s status,” and that the company “will not tolerate any violation of its Fighter Conduct Policy.” And so, presumably, that means the UFC is satisfied that Johnson did not engage in any wrongdoing, given their zero-tolerance stance on conduct violations.
The reinstatement is noteworthy, given the heightened attention domestic abuse has received in the context of professional sports, following the NFL’s Ray Rice debacle. According to the statement, “Johnson is once again eligible to compete and will begin training for his next fight at UFC Fight Night: Evans vs. Teixeira in Porto Alegre, Brazil.”
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