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Lorenz Larkin on the UFC’s treatment of Demetrious Johnson: ‘It’s ridiculous’

The former top UFC welterweight is feeling the love from Bellator ahead of his promotional debut, and doesn’t sound surprised by the way his last home is treating one of their champion fighters.

MMA: UFC 202-Magny vs Larkin Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Lorenz Larkin’s move from the UFC to Bellator was both surprising and entirely predictable. A top contender in the welterweight division with a fan friendly, flashy style, he seemed like exactly the kind of fighter the UFC would be doing their best to hold onto. But, as a fighter with a history of working with Scott Coker, from his Strikeforce days, he was also the kind of talent that seemed earmarked to get heavy interest from Coker in his new promotional home.

Eventually, the chance to work with Coker again won out for ‘The Monsoon.’ And he’s now set to make his Bellator debut, fighting for the welterweight title, against Douglas Lima on the promotion’s upcoming PPV card in Madison Square Garden on June 24th. Ahead of his title fight, Larkin spoke to MMA Fighting, to talk about the night & day difference in working with Bellator over the UFC.

“It’s a complete 180,” Larkin told MMA Fighting on Thursday. “I have a one-on-one with [Bellator CEO] Scott [Coker], he calls me if he needs anything or vice versa. Its just a complete 180. I’m pretty sure in this fight, I got marketed more than in my whole career. And it’s disheartening to say that, but it’s true. I’ve never seen so much of me out there.”
“It’s crazy, all the years this has been the most I’ve been marketed,” Larkin said. “Everything happens for a reason, I’m glad everything happened, and I wouldn’t change it or I wouldn’t be here right now.”

And a key example of that difference comes in the form of the UFC’s treatment of Demetrious Johnson. Johnson recently stated that Dana White threatened to shut down the flyweight division if ‘Mighty Mouse’ refused to take a fight with TJ Dillashaw. For White’s part, he maintains that that’s actually a threat he’s been making for years. Either way, it rings true to Larkin.

“I’m pretty sure other fighters got that (treated like Johnson),” Larkin said. “With me, I never had a one-on-one with UFC as far as talking to them and things like about my career or contract or anything like that. He wouldn’t lie. It would be a dumb decision to make some stuff up like that so I’m pretty sure there’s truth to that story.”
“It’s the same thing with Demetrious,” Larkin said, speaking of his own decision to test free agency. “He knows he’s valuable, you know what I mean? It sucks, because he’s my favorite fighter. In MMA right now, he is my favorite fighter. To me he is the most, pound-for-pound, best fighter out there. And he doesn’t get paid like it. It didn’t surprise me when he didn’t get pay-per-view points. It’s ridiculous.”

Bellatory NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva takes place this Saturday, live on PPV, and will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva. Fedor Emelianenko will take on Matt Mitrione in the co-main event.