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Dashon Johnson's brief UFC career included improperly accepting boxing match three weeks before final UFC bout

Former UFC fighter Dashon Johnson was handed his walking papers after an 0-2 run in the promotion, but an ill-conceived decision to compete in a boxing match may have contributed to his release.

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The story of Dashon Johnson's UFC career started with questions surrounding the padding of his MMA record in Xplode Fight Series, where only one of his nine fights came against an opponent with a winning record. Bloody Elbow's Zane Simon's own scouting of Johnson suggested a short stay in the big show, and that proved to be the case after he went 0-2 and was bounced in October after a 1st round submission loss to Godofredo Pepey in Brasilia, Brazil on September 13th. While his unsuccessful spell inside the Octagon was likely the reason he was let go, a last-minute pro boxing match may have played a role in his release.

Johnson is a veteran professional boxer with an otherwise journeyman-type record of 15-17-2. While his MMA stint has been mostly a well-documented series of mismatches, his boxing career has been a little more respectable in terms of quality of opponent and results in the ring. When he began competing in professional MMA in November 2012, Johnson chose to continue boxing and essentially remain an active competitor in both sports.

On August 21st, Johnson was called up as a replacement opponent against Louis Rose for a sanctioned event in Tacoma, Washington. Two days later he lost a one-sided ten-round decision to Rose on a card which also saw the (unsuccessful) boxing debut of MMA veteran Dennis Hallman. According to the official results list from the Washington State Department of Licensing, Johnson was placed on suspension until August 30th, exactly two weeks before he faced Pepey a whopping 6,300+ miles southeast in Brasilia. A worse outcome (such as a brutal knockout loss) could've very easily resulted in his UFC fight, which headlined the Brasilia event's preliminary card, being scrapped altogether.

This sort of rapid turnaround between fights is nothing new for Johnson, who once stated in a UFC interview that he frequently took on opponents on short-notice just to make a living. There are multiple instances of him competing in boxing and MMA within 1-4 weeks, as outlined in this table:

MMA bout date + location

Boxing bout date + location

Days between fights

11/17/2012 - California

11/24/2012 - California

7

1/19/2013 - California

1/12/2013 - Florida

7

3/16/2013 - California

3/15/2013 - BC, Canada

1

5/18/2013 - California

4/20/2013 - Texas

28

7/20/2013 - California

7/26/2013 - California

6

9/21/2013 - California

9/14/2013 - New York

7

1/18/2014 - California

1/25/2014 - Washington DC

7

9/13/2014 - Brazil

8/23/2014 - Washington State

21

Aside from the Pepey bout, all of his MMA appearances were with the unsanctioned Xplode Fight Series. On one occasion, he fought in Xplode while still under medical suspension in Texas following a boxing TKO loss. Amazingly, the only time he won both his MMA and boxing matches in such quick succession was his BC-to-California double dip in March of last year.

Bloody Elbow contacted the UFC regarding the promotion's policy for participating in other combat sports while under contract, and they provided this statement:

UFC athletes are permitted to take part in grappling competitions so long as they provide notice to our matchmakers. We do not permit our athletes to take part in striking competitions while under contract.

Bold emphasis is mine.

This is why active UFC fighters such as Josh Barnett, Rory MacDonald, and Brendan Schaub have all been able to compete in Metamoris, whereas Johnson did participate in a striking competition, putting him in clear violation of his UFC contract.

The Washington State DoL says they were neither aware of Johnson's contractual restrictions nor were they in any position to enforce them:

[We] were not aware of any contract obligations and would not have any authority to uphold any contractual agreements that Mr. Johnson may have had with UFC.

Johnson later fought to another decision loss in the boxing ring shortly after his early October release.

At just 26 years old, there's still a chance that Johnson could turn into a much better MMA fighter than he is at present, but he is in desperate need of proper direction, management, and dedication to full-time training in the sport. His development was already hindered by the prolonged string of squash matches followed by a major leap in competition once he went to the UFC, and he won't be able to improve other aspects of his game for as long as he continues to be active in boxing.