Former TUF competitor and current UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson has long been fighting for the rights of mixed martial artists. The Canadian joined the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association at a time when only he and Leslie Smith were the only active UFC competitors to publicly state the were a part of any fighters’ association.
At the UFC Athlete Retreat in Las Vegas, Johnson spoke out against the already heavily-scrutinized Reebok sponsorship deal. UFC welterweight Alan Jouban filmed a portion of it, which you can see at the top of the page.
“You guys are paying us almost nothing,” Johnson said. “I lost 80% of my sponsorship money when that deal signed, so I want to know how you can justify that.”
During this brief confronting, the spokesperson on stage said, “When you look at other brands like Monster, big brands associated with the UFC, the goal would be to grow you guys,” Johnson replied, “Don’t do that sh-t!” before the video cut off.
According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Johnson was later escorted out of the building.
I was told several ppl recorded it. Some agreed and cheered, others felt uncomfortable. Last 3-4 mins. He was escorted out afterwards.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 21, 2017
Johnson (21-12-1) hasn’t fought since defeating Naoyuki Kotani at UFC Japan in September 2015. That was the only time he fought under the Reebok deal, earning just $2,500 in sponsorship money, which is the lowest possible tier in the tenure-based system. He is perhaps best known for being on TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia, where he reached the welterweight semifinals.
On Twitter, Johnson had a series of tweets on what transpired, but did have a couple of positives to report.
Had a great sitdown with the UFC to figure out solutions to some of our problems in order to make things better in the future.— kajan johnson (@IamRagin) May 22, 2017
We got some good things done today. I feel like they were empathizing with us. Now we wait and see what comes of it. https://t.co/06q3cS5ads— kajan johnson (@IamRagin) May 22, 2017