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Anthony Johnson rumbles with Bruce Buffer over UFC’s treatment of Francis Ngannou

Bruce Buffer may always be there for fighters in the Octagon if they’re looking for a fist bump. But, when it comes to fighting in solidarity with fighters for better pay? Well, let’s just say Bruce knows who butters his bread.

Recently, Buffer caused some waves when he shared his thoughts on Francis Ngannou’s beef with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC heavyweight champion recently fought out the last fight on his contract and is currently looking like he’ll sit out a year until his exclusive deal with the promotion ends.

But, maybe not the best idea, according to Buffer.

“No offense to other organizations, but you become irrelevant when you leave the UFC after awhile,” Buffer said on his podcast. “Instead of losing in the UFC, your contract is being ended in the UFC and you fall from the Octagon down into the Bellators.”

Those comments didn’t sit well with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, one of the many fighters over the years who has left UFC for the Bellators of the world. He took to the Instagram comments to share his two cents on the subject.

“Bruce needs to stay off crack,” Johnson started out, diplomatically. “How’s anything irrelevant when providing food and shelter for family? Oh, by the way, I got paid way more for moving to another organization.

“Bruce has his guaranteed money so he can talk,” Johnson finished. “Fighters have to wait and actually entertain people when they get the chance to make some money.”


“Rumble” perfectly counters and embodies Buffer’s comments perfectly. What is relevance worth, Johnson asks, in the face of an ability to provide for your family? Should Ngannou and other fighters accept whatever deal the UFC offers — often less than what the competition will offer — because of some very subjective view of relevance?

On the other hand, “Rumble” was indeed a relevant force in mixed martial arts (MMA) ... when he was in UFC. When he came out of retirement there was a lot of hype ... when it looked like he’d return to UFC. His relevance to fans has dropped now that he’s in Bellator, especially given his comeback plans began in 2019 and he’s fought just once in the 2.5 years since then.

But, if Bellator is allowing him to get by off that, and he’s happy with where he’s at, who are we to say he’s doing it wrong? Buffer may be right about the spotlight being bigger in UFC, but if that doesn’t come with tangible, material advantages, what the hell is it good for?

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