On Thursday, Conor McGregor (arguably the UFC's biggest draw right now) took a stand against the company that made him a star. He put his foot down, stating that he lost his head in the "game of promotion," and he should be focused on training and fighting because that's what he's paid to do.
The ripple of McGregor's feud with the UFC is now being felt throughout the fight world, and other fighters are beginning to speak out as well. The issues in question, is McGregor right? Is the amount promotion fighters are expected to do just too much?
Demetrius Johnson thinks those are difficult questions to answer. After spending four years on top of the UFC flyweight division, Johnson understands the responsibilities that come with being a UFC champion. It's fair to say that the level of media someone such as Johnson has to do, compared to a name like a McGregor or a Rousey, is is radically different. After all, they are thrust into the position of being the "faces of the sport."
"It's a totally different ballgame," Johnson told media. "Totally different. Conor is on Conan. He's on The Late Night Show. He's doing huge things."
It's completely different life than what Johnson has to live.
"I'm just going to California, doing a lot of media, and then I'm back out here," Johnson continued. "I agree with Conor. At the end of the day, it's about winning the fight."
Johnson doesn't think that the general public understands what's involved in the art of promotion.
"It takes a lot of energy. It truly does," Johnson said. "It takes a lot of energy to sit here and answer questions, answer politically correct, think of the right things to say to people."
It's that loss of energy that concerned McGregor, who is currently coming off a big loss and in Iceland training for an even bigger rematch. Hopping over to do a press tour sucks up a lot of time and a lot of energy that should be spent focusing on the most important thing: Winning.
"He's coming from f**king Iceland, " continues Johnson. "He's in the middle of camp. So you've got to think: He's coming from Iceland, he's in the middle of camp, he wants to prepare properly this time. So he's going to leave from Iceland, probably fly to New York, New York to Vegas, so there's that travel time that could be well spent actually training."
The problems of simply doing press and promotion doesn't end there. As Johnson point out, there's a lot involved other than travel:
"He's got to find a location to go train at. Then he has to find the right food to eat. Then he's got to get the right sleep, then he's got to answer all these interviews."
Although one can argue that, "it's part of the job," Johnson points out just how mentally and physically punishing promotion can be on a fighter. Especially one as high caliber as McGregor.
It's because of this, Johnson sides with McGregor:
"I totally understand where Conor is coming from. One-hundred and ten percent, because I'm a big fan of not breaking camp. Once I'm in camp, dude, if you want me to come out and do stuff, okay, let's do it right when we announce it, then boom, let's get out done."