DaMarques Johnson went from being a “fight anyone, anywhere” type of guy to missing weight by eight pounds, losing a bout, and being cut by the UFC. Fans, despite his not-so-stellar record (2-5 since April of 2010) thought he had at least earned another fight by stepping in on such short notice, and voiced their opinion on all sorts of social media platforms that the UFC should reconsider their decision to release him. In a rare interview, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva made it clear there was more to the story than what people know.
When Pascal Krauss pulled out of his UFC on Fuel 5 against Gunnar Nelson, it was announced Rich Attonito would step in to fight Nelson. In an interview with MMAFighting, Silva explained that Attonito contacted him and said he was having problems making 170 on short notice so UFC offered the bout at the catch-weight of 175. Attonito accepted the new terms but later said it still wasn’t enough time. As a result, Attonito was then handed his walking papers.
Though a medical suspension from his knockout loss to Mike Swick had just ended, Johnson still accepted the fight after being contacted as a replacement for Attonito. Silva insisted that Johnson’s camp knew about what happened to Attonito to make sure the same situation wouldn’t repeat itself again. Johnson later said he was having problems cutting the weight, so Silva booked the fight at the 175 pound catchweight. However, at the weigh-ins, Johnson didn’t even come close to making weight and had to forfeit 20% of his purse to Nelson. The fight was changed to catchweight of 183 pounds, though ultimately it had little effect as Johnson was submitted in just under four minutes into the fight, then released earlier this week.
“I thought it was incredibly unfair to Gunnar Nelson to fight someone that much larger than him. Johnson told me he could make the weight,” said Silva, feeling as though the fighter should have known better than to take a tilt without being in shape for it. “He’s not doing me a favor if he missed weight because I could have gotten someone else who would have made the weight.”
Silva concluded by stating he would never blame a fighter for turning down a scrap on short notice, but affirmed that fighters need to be upfront about what’s happening.
“I never pressure anyone to take late notice fights. I got a bunch of guys who want to fight. If one says no, I will find someone else. No problem,” Silva concluded.
Johnson also spoke up in the interview, saying he blamed himself for being too arrogant to realize he couldn’t shed the required weight in time and had no problem with the way the UFC reacted to the situation.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC