UFC Flyweight Champ Demetrious Johnson: “There’s not enough money in the world for me to risk my brain damage”

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Demetrious Johnson

“One time I just brawled it out and said, ‘I’m going to just f***ing go, let my hands go and take shots and give shots.’ I had f***ing vertigo [after] and was like, ‘What the f*** were you doing?’ Matt goes, ‘You’re gifted; you can switch from aspects of martial arts without missing a beat. That is your gift. Your gift is that you’re fast and not many people hit you. That’s what you have.’ I was like, ‘F***, you’re right.’ And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. That’s why you have not seen me do that yet… There’s not enough money in the world for me to risk my brain damage. I know I’m fighting right now and people are like, ‘Well why the f*** are you fighting [then]?’ That’s why Matt Hume will look at me [and tell me to be smart]… You need a f***ing safety net in this sport. I tell all the kids who are like, ‘I want to be just like you’ to be better than me. Go to college, get an education and don’t try to put yourself in a boat to where this is all you have to do.”

-UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson talks to Joe Rogan about avoiding damage in his fights and his mindset on the sport (transcribed by MMAJunkie.com).

Penick’s Analysis: Given a lack of significant money for many of the fighters in sport, they’re putting their futures at risk in this game for little return. Even someone like Johnson who is clearly among the elite of the elite in the sport, because he isn’t among the major draws, the money he’s making in his short time in the sport isn’t necessarily worth changing up his style. If he can be as good as he is, and as effective as he’s been defeating his competition while avoiding damage, why wouldn’t he keep that up? It doesn’t make sense for him to be more aggressive and put himself at risk if he can dominate without doing so. It’s probably not going to endear him to a ton of fans, but at the same time he’s in this for himself. It’s his health, it’s his longevity, and he’s smart to be cautious.

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