UFC 187’s Anthony Johnson on allegations of domestic violence: “It’s pure comedy to me.”
Guest contributor Nick Yidiaris has discovered that Anthony Johnson still thinks three women accusing him of domestic violence and his past conviction for the same is pretty funny.
On May 23rd, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson faces Daniel Cormier for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. The belt was vacated after reigning champion Jon Jones was stripped, following his involvement in a hit and run accident. Johnson and Cormier represent the best of the rest at light heavyweight, giving the UFC a fresh start with a new champion while Jones rehabs his image.
But therein lies the problem. Rehabilitating Jon Jones’ image does not necessarily rehabilitate the light heavyweight championship’s image. If Anthony Johnson wins the title, a man with a checkered past—to put it kindly—steps in to fill the void left by Jones. Johnson has been accused of domestic violence on several occasions by multiple women, and plead no contest to 2009 domestic violence charges brought against him. The alleged mother of his children filed for a temporary injunction for protection in the fall of 2014, alleging abuse and threats from Johnson. At the same time, another police report came to light from a third woman, alleging Johnson had visited her work when he knew she’d be alone and threatened her, leaving her with bruises and a scratch.
I recently had an interaction with Johnson on Twitter, wherein he proved just how lightly he takes the subject of violence against women. I had previously mentioned his history of domestic violence to him on Twitter, and his replies were always some variation of “lol,” or “lmao.” Because this is all very funny. Eventually, he blocked me, because I guess it was really difficult to deal with someone attacking him, rather than the other way around. A couple weeks ago, I saw a tweet from Josh Gross quoting a tweet from Rumble about always “keeping your head up.” I interjected by mentioning Johnson’s history of violence against women. Apparently Johnson got wind of it, and decided to unblock me for a lengthy conversation.
Johnson freely admits that this subject is funny to him. He contends that none of it is true and shrugs it off with practiced ease. I proceeded to mention the multiple allegations levied against him. An increasing ability to suspend one’s disbelief that these are false allegations is required with each subsequent accusation, and they’ve piled up over the years for Rumble.
Here, Johnson tries waving his magic wand and laughing things away. Rather than answering the question I’ve presented him with, he tells me that it’s “pure comedy” to him. It is truly hilarious to think that he might beat up a bunch of women. The absurdity of it all.
And here is a bit that really stands out, even among his already deplorable responses. He tells me that he’s concerned about “real people” with “real morals.” That seems to imply that I’m somehow not a real person (I am; I’m writing this, I promise), real people wouldn’t bother with niggling issues like multiple accusations of domestic violence, and possibly that his alleged victims aren’t real people. As I responded, “real morals” is apparently an umbrella term covering a lot of things, but not hitting women apparently isn’t one of those things.
I tried to ask UFC president, Dana White, about how seriously his upcoming world title challenger takes his history of alleged domestic abuse (not to mention the no contest plea he agreed to that allowed the court to find him guilty), with the hope that White would at least respond and tell me how they rationalize Johnson’s behavior, especially since the UFC claims to have a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence.
I returned to Twitter a short while later to find that I had been blocked by Dana White. So, that’s a pretty strong “yes” in response to my question of whether Dana was okay with Johnson’s reactions to my questions. If you’re familiar with my Twitter at all, you know that I’ve said far worse and more critical things to Dana White over the years. I’ve called him out on his own behavior, I’ve made fun of him outright – plenty of things that might warrant a blocking. I asked a question about something that the UFC claims to take seriously, and White’s only response was to block me. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
So, come May 23rd, alleged serial domestic abuser Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will step into the octagon with a former Olympic wrestler, Daniel Cormier. And if Johnson comes out on top, the UFC will have replaced its troubled UFC champion with a shiny new one. The public needs only to look a little closer to see through the way Johnson is being presented, as the nice guy, and to see that he is also troubled. Johnson’s past is disturbing to read about, but it might be even more disturbing to see how lightly he takes it. It is unnerving to see a man laugh about his well-documented history of domestic violence and domestic violence allegations. And while it’s perhaps unsurprising to see the UFC tacitly support such a man, it is surely disappointing nonetheless.
Convicted domestic abuser Anthony Johnson fights for the light heavyweight title May 23rd at UFC 187.
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