Michael “The Menance” Johnson scored the upset first round KO victory over the red-hot Daniel Poirier last night in the main event of UFC’s Fight Night on FS1, then turned on some heavy taunting which he’d apologize for minutes later.
As soon as the ref called the fight in his favor by TKO, Johnson stood and walked over to his coaches for congratulations, Then walked back toward Poirier and began rubbing his fingers together, signaling he wanted a money fight. He then walked over to Poirier as he was being tended to by medics and trainers and shouted some expletives down at him, then walked over to his corner again and said, “F— him!” Color commentator Brian Stann immediately said there is no need for that. Poirier sat up and scowled, visibly upset with Johnson’s display of bad sportsmanship. As Poirier stood, he had to be held back.
The outburst and gloating took focus away from what was an impressive statement victory over the favored Poirier (-170). Johnson apologized during the break, as pointed out by Stann on Twitter during FS1’s commercial break.
Nice show by @FollowTheMenace as he apologizes to @DustinPoirier saying he got too excited in celebration. Statement performance by MJ
— Brian Stann (@BrianStann) September 18, 2016
Johnson told Jon Akin in the post-fight interview he wanted to show that he’s ready for big fights and big money. “You got Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz getting paid that money and they’re out here scrapping, having a sparring match. I come to finish fights, I go for the kill. Pay me, baby, what’s up?”
He bragged: “I have the fastest hands in this division. I’m the most dangerous guy in this division. Give me my next victim, man. Anybody in this division, I’m coming for that title… I want on that New York card. Anybody, let’s go.”
Keller’s Analysis: If you read the “5 Yrs Ago” flashback I selected today to re-post, you read Triple H of WWE criticizing fights for ending sometimes in “five seconds” and the fighters “just… walk in in t-shirts and shorts and just stand there and then they fight and then they win and then they go ‘thanks, I’d like to thank my sponsors’ and then they leave.” That’s not what the Menace did there. He not only scored an upset win, but he turned himself “heel” with the gloating and taunting expletives, drawing criticism of the announcers and boos from fans, then took some shots at top PPV draws Diaz and McGregor, then called out the fighters ahead of him in the rankings, and picked a high-profile card he wants to be on. That’s how you market yourself and get people excited about your next fight. The fact that he apologized quells some off the negative vibes some fans (and fellow fighters and UFC announcers) might feel about his approach, but what remains is a fighter everyone is more invested in seeing fight next. I wouldn’t say he made himself a star, but he made himself a marketable fighter on the verge of being a star whom UFC would really market if he made it to a PPV main event title slot.
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