Often money is a highly relative subject. What means a lot to some, means less to others. Conversely, what may seem like a small amount for some pro-athletes can feel like a pretty big payday to a guy who's spent his life making minimum wage. That's the boat Demetrious Johnson seems to find himself in when he talks about his current contract as the UFC's first flyweight champion. He spoke to MMA Junkie at length about his interest in PPV points, and the big takeaway is that he's not that interested.
"I've talked to fighters in the past who've had pay-per-view points, and they'll fight on pay-per-view, and they won't reach their goal, so they won't get the pay-per-view points," Johnson (19-2-1 MMA, 7-1-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie Radio. "I know I'm not a big name like Anderson Silva or [Georges St-Pierre]. That's why there are only a few guys that have that kind of thing.
"I'd rather take the money up front than wager a bet."
"(But) you've got to think, like, I come from a job where I used to make $10.76 an hour, and I would only net out, like, $20,000 a year or maybe $18,000 a year," Johnson said. "For me, I fight to take care of my family and be secure and to live. I'm only 27 years old, so I've still got a lot more years to climb the ladder."
It's odd to hear about a champion with three title defenses already under his belt (and a serious lack of strong challengers) talk about still needing to prove his worth. He had a lot more to say about where he feels his place is on the UFC star pecking order, so check out the full interview.
Unfortunately there's a certain truth in that as lower weight fighters are still touch-and-go as a major draw. Johnson's recent performances are paving the way for a lot of future fan interest, but it's hard to say if he'll be the one to reap it's rewards. What do you think? Is Johnson playing it smart by keeping his nose to the grindstone, and headlining TV cards, or should he be demanding a slice of the pie on a numbered UFC event? Does he have what it takes to be a big draw at flyweight, or are we still a few years away from fans turning out for the 125 lb fighters?