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DaMarques Johnson released despite stepping up for fight on short notice

The next time a UFC fighter on the cusp of being cut is offered an opportunity to take a tilt without a full camp to prepare it appears he should only look as far as the case of DaMarques Johnson if needing a reason to turn the fight down. Johnson stepped up to take on newcomer Gunnar Nelson at UFC on Fuel 5 with less than two weeks to prepare for the bout even though he’d suffered a brutal knockout loss to Mike Swick a little more than a month prior.

In the end, a relatively out-of-shape Johnson was choked out in the opening round. However, instead of rewarding the 30-year old for his heart, the UFC has instead decided to hand him his walking papers based on the stumble being his third straight.

“And the hits keep on coming… No longer a UFC fighter,” wrote Johnson on Twitter.

Before his recent skid, the 15-12 Johnson went 4-2 in six fights after coming up short against James Wilks when the two squared off for the title of TUF champion at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in 2009. All of his wins inside the Octagon involved some form of finish, as did all of his losses, giving testament to Johnson’s desire to throw down rather than play it safe.


  • MCM says:

    Looks like the UFC is cracking down on guys missing weight, no matter what the reason. Both Johnson (who never should have been allowed to fight in the first place) and Hallman had legit reasons for not coming in in shape. But I guess the UFC is taking a no excuse policy now.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    by no means a fan of his but can appreciate a guy who genuinely comes to fight every time, always worth watching as you knew something would happen. seems a little harsh

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Nice thank you from UFC for him stepping up and taking this fight when they had no other replacement.

  • Lord Faust says:

    See guys, look at all those BIG OPPORTUNITIES guys like Mittrione and Evans passed up.

    Johnson shouldn’t have even been fighting, he lost pretty handily and now this…

    Like I tell people all the time, being owed for a “favour” means squat. It’s a loan of trusted backed by nothing.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I understand the sentiment, but I just don’t feel bad about this decision. Prior to his latest loss, Johnson had dropped 4 of his 6 fights over the past two years, being finished in all 4 losses. He was already on very thin ice, and although I agree it was dumb to have him fighting on such a quick turnaround off a vicious KO defeat, the UFC needed a replacement and for Johnson it provided an opportunity to save his job.

    As it turned out, he didn’t make weight and suffered another decisive defeat. He’s sorta gotta go at that point, and I’m not sure he was gonna get more than one more fight–if even that–with the UFC if he’d turned down this opportunity. It’s a tough business.

  • Lord Faust says:

    That’d be all well and fine, but Hardy was kept on after 4 losses and didn’t do the UFC any favours.

    You could argue he’s a draw in the UK, but I’d question the value of that assessment.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Hardy lost to top guys, and has beaten some legit competition. With Johnson, he just doesn’t have any real substance to fall back on. He lost 6 of his 10 UFC bouts and, for better or worse, was finished in each of the losses. And the 4 guys he beat? Three of ’em were immediately cut upon losing to Johnson, and the other immediately retired. In other words, not only are none of the guys Johnson has beat still with the company, they were already at the end of their rope when he fought them.

    On the plus side, he put on exciting fights and stayed really busy with 10 fights during his 3+ years with the UFC. So at a basic level, those are two of the most important traits a fighter can possess, and it would have been cool if he’d gotten his win-or-be-cut fight under better circumstances. But the way it turned out, with missing weight as the last straw, I can see why the UFC felt he had to go.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he was a big loss to the UFC, but the inconsistency in terms of who gets cut, and who doesn’t, is striking.

    Plus, Dana’s made some comments about how guys should be stepping up. Well, right here we’ve seen that it won’t help you. Whether or not it hurts you depends on how badly Johnson needed to be away from full contact, as per the post-fight medicals from his prior bout.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I think it was going to happen sooner or later but the conditions are what makes it harsh… home boy looked like he was gonna go through the canvas when he got KO’d… next thing you know he’s a later replacement..?!? Hey like I said it was bound to happen sooner or later… atleast he got his paycheck.

  • I don’t have a problem with this decision. Not only did he miss a catch weight that he agreed to, he missed it by several pounds. Stepping up on short notice is great and all but if you can’t make weight and are barely off suspension from a Brutal KO maybe you should just say “I’m sorry Joe, can’t make it.” And wait for another opportunity.

  • Sumoninja says:

    I think it’s unfortunate, but I don’t think it’s correct to say the UFC owes Johnson anything. He got paid each time he fought, and likely picked up additional cash when he stepped up on short notice. Contract executed and done. I don’t understand how/why you’d get so out of shape in between fights that you can’t cut back down to a catchweight weight in a week, and if you do, I don’t understand how you take a fight probably knowing you won’t make weight.
    I see it this way, the UFC offers a price for fighting, nothing more. You have to take it upon yourself to be exciting and to win so that you have longevity. The UFC is pretty clear those are the only two criteria that matter.
    Having said all that, I enjoyed a lot of DJ’s fights. Hope he gets his game together and can return. Tough dude.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    As I commented above, all in all I understand the decision and agree with it, mainly because Johnson just didn’t win fights. I would have been fine if they’d cut him following the brutal KO loss to Swick, his 4th loss in 6 fights, being finished each time.

    Where things get dicey is the way the UFC dangled an opportunity for Johnson to compete on short notice & presumably save his job. Already on thin ice, how was Johnson supposed to turn that down? And I’m speculating, but if he had said ‘no’ I think he would have been cut.

    Either way, the UFC should have known better and never offered that fight to Johnson in the first place. He’d recently been KTFO and, beyond the obvious physical implications, wasn’t expecting to fight anytime soon so he was ill prepared in all facets (diet, mindset, etc). It was a double whammy going against him, but it didn’t matter to the UFC. When they find themselves in a bind from a business standpoint, they’ve shown their willingness to cut corners, and they basically bully the fighters.

    The guys who’ve built up some equity (like Hendo, Machida, Shogun to name a few recent examples) are able to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’ and remain in pretty good position overall. But most guys aren’t that fortunate and have to jump at whatever opportunity is dangled in front of them… primarily because there are so few opportunities to fight each year & bring in a paycheck, but also because if you turn down something the UFC is offering/wanting, Dana gets pissy and there’s a decent chance it’ll be used against you moving forward.

    It’s one thing if it involves asking guys to risk their spot in the contender line by taking a fight on short notice, or face a totally different opponent they haven’t trained/prepared for, etc. But when it involves blatant risk towards a fighter’s well being, as was the case with Johnson, that’s a whole other level of bullsh*t. Of course, Dana would tell us he did the kid a favor… giving him a another chance to fight, to earn another paycheck, to save his job. And he’d be right on the micro level; problem is Dana has difficulty seeing things in the bigger picture or from anything other than the perspective of what’s best for the UFC.

  • MCM says:


    You’re presuming the UFC called on Johnson. How do you know it wasn’t Johnson that called the UFC and asked for the fight?
    Isn’t it just as likely that Johnson, assuming his job was on the chopping blocked, asked for the opportunity to earn a win and there by continue his employment with the company. Perhaps I’m naive but I find it more plausible that a fighter fearing unemployment would seek an opportunity to preserve his job than a promoter would purposely risk a fighters health and well being simply out of some need to play God and be in control.

    The UFC didn’t NEED the Gunner fight to happen. Nelson was making his debut, it could have easily been pushed to another card. That leads me to think that it was probably Johnson that made the initial request to fight.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    The Krauss injury/pull out happened really late. With standard protocol I’d imagine his camp contacted the UFC to inform them of the injury, and from there the UFC quickly went to work finding a last minute replacement. I suppose it’s possible that Johnson had already gotten wind of Krauss’ injury and beat the UFC to the punch, but that seems unlikely.

    But even if it did go down that way, what really changes? The UFC didn’t have anybody else on such short notice (or they would’ve booked a replacement who could actually make 170 rather than going the catchweight route), and regardless of who reached out to whom the UFC should have recognized Johnson was not fit to fight rather than throw him in on such short notice to save a slot on a card.

    I definitely agree with you the fight didn’t NEED to happen, and in fact the best option was probably to scrap it and let the event happen with a not-quite-full card. And better yet, postpone the bout and let Johnson fight Gunnar under proper conditions (cobwebs cleared from his head, able to make 170, etc)… but to me it was another case of the UFC putting its own business interests ahead of all else, while Dana would probably spin it as “Listen. I was up all f*cking night making 100 goddamn phone calls to make sure we saved that f*cking fight and I made sure the crowd in England got to see a guy from their f*cking home country, who many of them bought f*cking tickets and f*cking tshirts and painted little goddamn flags on the side of their f*cking faces and asscheeks cuz they were so f*cking excited to watch him perform. And I made it f*cking happen.”

  • AlphaOmega says:

    “(like Hendo, Machida”

    I don’t know if you can say that anymore, since I’m pretty sure the fight Dana said is going to happen between them two is punishment for them both in how 151 played out.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I hear ya, but I think the Hendo-Machida stuff is mostly just Dana talking out of his ass again.

    If Jones’ elbow forces him to miss a significant amount of time, then Hendo-Machida will probably happen, though it would be the result of JBJ being sidelined & vritually nothing to do with “punishment” from Uncle Dana.

    If Jones’ elbow checks out fine and just needs a bit more time to mend, then JBJ-Hendo will happen next. Dana can talk about the rest of the stuff all he wants, but at the end of the day the UFC isn’t gonna pass up (or further jeopardize) the biggest $$ matchup of Jones vs. Henderson.

    If the injury stuff works itself out, I’m expecting JBJ will next defend his belt against Hendo during Super Bowl weekend in early Feb.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Dana’s naughty list has really grown this year, huh?


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