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Dana White coy on Anthony Johnson’s move to Bellator: ‘He does want to be with the UFC’

UFC president Dana White is putting the onus on Anthony Johnson to explain how he ended up in Bellator.

In news that came as a surprise to many this week, former two-time UFC title challenger Johnson (22-6) was announced to have signed with rival promotion Bellator.

After retiring from MMA in April 2017, Johnson has teased a return for more than a year. He returned to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) testing pool ahead of an anticipated octagon return in 2021, but then he somehow landed with Bellator.

Bellator president Scott Coker didn’t reveal much on how he came to sign “Rumble,” and White was reluctant to share, too.

“Listen, we love the guy,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, following Friday’s UFC 256 official weigh-ins. “I have a great relationship with him, I’ve always liked him, never had any problems with him other than some weight cutting issues back at 170 (pounds). He’s a great guy, we love him, we’d love to have him here, but it’s probably better for him to go somewhere else.”

When pushed for more information on the topic, White refused to share additional details. He said those are questions for Johnson himself to answer, and implored to the media to ask the fight how the transition materialized.

“No, he does want to be with the UFC,” White said. “It just didn’t work out. Ask him. That’s his business, not mine.”

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