"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
Everybody has heard some variation of those famous words from philosopher George Santayana, often in the slight paraphrasing "those who can not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." At this point it's safe to say that UFC "middle"weight Anthony Johnson has not spent much time reflecting on Santayana's sentiment.
At yesterday's weigh-ins for UFC 142 it was announced before the event began that Johnson would not be making weight for his middleweight debut against Vitor Belfort, and that he wasn't going to be close. A fighter struggling to make weight at a new weight class is nothing new in fight sports. While still unprofessional, there's at least a logical path to follow in a fighter overestimating his ability to weigh in 15-pounds lighter than ever before. In the case of Johnson, the move to middleweight saw him granted 15 more pounds without violating his contract, and yet for the third time in his career, Johnson failed to complete his professional responsibilities by a sizable margin.
Immediately following weigh-ins, the spin out of Johnson's camp began.
[Manager Glenn] Robinson says that Johnson started feeling sick and unstable, and so a local doctor came in to check him out to see what exactly was going on.
The doctor gave Johnson fluids to see if it would improve his condition, and within a couple of hours, the Blackzilian fighter started to come back to life. Unfortunately, at this point it was too late to cut the weight back down to 186lbs.
"It was medical reasons, it wasn't for lack of effort," Robinson said. "The UFC was extremely supportive and said health comes first."
With excuse making like that coming from a man Johnson is trusting to act in his best interest, it's little wonder that he hasn't learned anything from his two prior failures to act like a responsible professional. Sure enough, not long after Johnson took to facebook to make it clear he did all he could and it wasn't his fault that he couldn't do what he signed a contract swearing to do. As Bloody Elbow posted:
I'm already laughing at what ppl are saying. Yeah it was for medical reason and I did what the UFC Dr Told me to do. Believe it or don't I give a f**k cuz the ppl close to me were freaking out but I'm still alive and something like this has never happen before. Say what you want I'm still gonna do my thang. You try not having feeling in your legs and can't move then and see how you look at life after that
That's right, don't blame him for missing weight, blame the UFC doctor who made him take fluids just because he had already dehydrated himself dangerously to the point of losing feeling in extremities. He laughs at all you idiots who think this is on him. Well, sorry Johnson-defenders, but his behavior isn't a laughing matter anymore, at least it shouldn't be for him. Saying that a doctor prohibited him from cutting any more weight before he reached his target doesn't let him off the hook because, and this may surprise Johnson to hear, he had several months knowing he was going to fight during which he could have lowered his weight to a level where he could have made 186-pounds without his body shutting down. He didn't, and that's nobody's fault but his and the people around him looking to make excuses.
Fortunately, Dana White isn't one to buy into that line of buck passing. Don't believe it? Just ask Jason Guida about his long run on The Ultimate Fighter. As MMA Junkie first reported, White has already gone on the record saying Johnson may want to hold off on getting those Anthony Johnson, UFC Fighter business cards.
"His job is on the line," White said. "His job is absolutely on the line, win or lose."
"Complete and absolute unprofessionalism - that's what happened," White said. "There's no other way it can be explained."
Good for White. He is often fairly criticized for making rash decisions while still high on emotion, but that doesn't mean those decisions are always the wrong ones. Quite bluntly, Johnson should already be unemployed, but it's clear Belfort is excited to fight in Brazil and denying him that opportunity would be unfair to him. So, let Johnson fight, and when he gets back to the locker room, whether he lost or won by a double flying knee in a minute, have a pink slip waiting for him. Fighting is one part of being a professional mixed martial artist, and the UFC has made it clear that repeated failures in that area is a path out of the majors. It's time to show that repeated failures in another part of the job holds the same consequences.
Maybe then Johnson will finally learn something.
Reblogged from the sporadically updated Just Blog Guy.