No. 12-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight, Michael Johnson, has not competed since taking a unanimous decision over Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37 about nine months ago.
That's a long layoff for a fighter in the midst of a three-fight win streak. In fact, it will be almost one full year when "The Menace" returns to the Octagon to battle Edson Barboza in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 61 inside Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on Feb. 22, 2015 (details here).
Now we know the reason.
Johnson was quietly "temporarily barred" from competition until an investigation was completed into a domestic dispute that occurred in South Florida in April 2014. The Blackzilians-trained fighter was reinstated earlier this evening and given the green light to start training for his 155-pound showdown against Barboza.
Check out the complete statement:
"UFC lightweight Michael Johnson was ineligible to compete in the UFC organization following his arrest regarding a domestic dispute in Palm Beach County, Florida in April 2014. Given that the allegations against Johnson constituted a potential violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy, the UFC organization temporarily barred Johnson from competition pending the completion of a third-party investigation. Following a thorough review and investigation -- including personal interviews with Johnson and independent confirmation that he has satisfied all obligations required by the UFC -- Johnson is once again eligible to compete and will begin training for his next fight at UFC Fight Night: 'Evans vs. Teixeira' in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The UFC will continue to monitor Johnson's status. He must fully comply with the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and all other contractual and additional obligations in order to continue competing in the UFC. All UFC athletes are required to comply with the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy they signed along with their fight contract. The UFC organization will not tolerate any violation of its Fighter Conduct Policy. The organization is committed to thoroughly investigating all allegations and taking the appropriate action when warranted."
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 runner up, according to MMAFighting.com, was arrested in the early hours on April 9, 2014, and booked at the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on one charge of "Battery -- Touch Or Strike."
It's unclear at this time if the charges have been dropped and/or still pending.