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Midnight Mania! Demetrious Johnson wins “Best Fighter” ESPY over Conor McGregor, Ward, and Golovkin

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Johnson vs Reis Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Demetrious Johnson, the diminutive UFC flyweight champion called “Mighty Mouse”, beat out Conor McGregor, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward for this the 2017 ESPY “Best Fighter” award.

Johnson has tied the UFC record with ten title defenses, most recently tapping Wilson Reis with an armbar in April. He is far and away the longest running current UFC champion, but has recently become embroiled in a uncharacteristic (for him) dispute with UFC president Dana White (who is all too willing to throw his own champions under the bus). White wanted Johnson to face TJ Dillashaw in August, despite Dillashaw having never competed at flyweight before. It was an exciting fight that garnered hardcore fans’ interest. When Johnson demanded some guarantees in case Dillashaw didn’t make weight, White refused to grant any. Johnson then demanded to fight the default top contender, Ray Borg. White then went public with his disgust, leading Johnson to release a full public statement on the matter, in which he alleged Dana White threatened to close down the entire flyweight division. Dana most recently concluded that Johnson could face Borg if he wanted to, but not to expect much fan interest.

This ESPY award is one of the rare cases where excellence in the sport gets recognition over promotional skill; the quiet Mighty Mouse stands in complete contrast to everything about today’s dramatic Mayweather-McGregor press conference.

The power to entertain is still king, though, as ESPN was quick to use McGregor and Mayweather to promote their awards ceremony.

We have a backstage look at what the #ESPYS did this year to avoid any major envelope snafus.

A post shared by espn (@espn) on

Meanwhile, Demetrious was busy watching the Game of Thrones series 7 premiere.

Ooohhhh man it's time for the @hbo #gotpremiereLA @hbo

A post shared by Demetrious Johnson (@mightymouse125) on

Insanity Tour, Day 2

Conor McGregor had the crowd fully behind him today in Toronto (see more highlights here). He went after everyone- first the Mayweathers, and then Showtime itself, for cutting off his mic yesterday.

Unfortunately, he also doubled down on the racial slur of telling Mayweather, “dance for me, boy”

Charlamagne gave McGregor the “Donkey of the Day” award for the slur, saying McGregor probably doesn’t know the history behind white men using that word to belittle black men, and explaining why it’s problematic. This isn’t the first time McGregor has pushed the boundaries of racism, calling Nate Diaz a “little cholo gangster from the hood”, and saying he would storm Aldo’s favela on horseback in another era.

Floyd Mayweather Sr. was quick to give Conor a pass on the comment yesterday. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for McGregor to use a widely recognized racial slur; the truth that Floyd Sr. knows, however, is that the comment may motivate people (like Charlamagne) to buy the PPV to see McGregor get beaten up by Floyd. No one wants the race aspect to take over the narrative- least of all Conor- but it works very well (from a promotion standpoint) as barely concealed subtext.

There were other, better moments for Conor from today. Like when he stole Mayweather’s cash backpack. Or, like this perfectly timed beach ball punch:

Nice aim.

Instantly iconic moments in sports photography

Moments like these also sell Pay-Per-Views.


This meme was the funniest thing to come out of yesterday’s press conference.

Yesterday, Conor mentioned that “Paulie” had been talking shit and he would pay for it in sparring. Paul Malignaggi doesn’t seem bothered by that threat.

Speaking of sparring, Kevin Lee says that Mayweather has some very weird, diva sparring habits, like calling a round over the moment his partner lands a good shot on him.

Speaking of Kevin Lee, Tony Ferguson says Kevin Lee didn’t want any when they ran into each other on the streets.

Jon Jones spoke with Anderson Silva and wants everyone to know it.

Jedrzejczyk was at the presser yesterday... she missed out on the better one today.

Slips, Rips, and KO Clips

Floyd was knocking guys out in 1997. That’s twenty years ago, if you are counting.

Quick Hits

Podcasts and Video

UFC Fight Night 113 preview with the Fight Nerds. Subscribe to MMAMania’s Youtube channel here

Jack Slack talks Gaethje

The Heavy Hands boys talk Gaethje and Whittaker

Random Land


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