Michael Johnson was arrested in April. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The UFC on Sunday announced that Michael Johnson would return to the Octagon on Feb. 22, his first fight in nearly a year.
The reason for the extended layoff came to light on Monday, as the promotion released a statement revealing that Johnson had been ineligible to compete following his arrest for a “domestic dispute” in Palm Beach County, Fla., this past April.
According to Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records, Johnson was arrested on a charge of “battery – touch or strike” on April 9, 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,” the statement read. “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 statement continued. “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.”
Following a unanimous decision triumph over Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night in London on March 8, Johnson was booked for a matchup with Josh Thomson at UFC on Fox 12. The bout was announced on May 9, approximately one month after Johnson’s arrest. In July, the Las Vegas-based organization announced that the Blackzilians representative had been forced to withdraw from the contest; he was replaced by Bobby Green at the July 26 event.
Johnson will square off with Edson Barboza in the co-main event of the UFC Fight Night card in Brazil on Feb. 22. The 27-year-old “Ultimate Fighter 12” runner-up is 7-4 in the UFC since his debut in 2010.