With the flyweight division currently one of the hot topics in MMA, it’s hard to believe the division is over five years old. It’s even harder to believe that the man who arguably got the better of DJ five years ago, Ian McCall is nowhere to be found when discussing the potential challengers for Demetrious Johnson’s throne. McCall’s trouble with substance abuse is well documented and he was even clinically dead at one point during his run with the World Extreme Cagefighting in 2012 after OD’ing on numerous drugs. He is known for his infamous “Uncle Creepy” nickname and personality, but his fighting ability will be what got him to the level of success he’s at today.
McCall and Johnson squared off in the semi finals at UFC on FX back in 2012 and the three round affair was as close as they come, but instead of an an additional fourth round to clear the air up, the fight was ruled a draw. February 2013 at UFC on FX 2 the two would run it back with Johnson winning a three round unanimous decision earning his spot in the finals where he defeated Joseph Benavidez in a split decision at UFC 152 to win the gold he has yet to relinquish.
Following the second bout between both McCall and Johnson both men went in different directions. Johnson went on a 11 run tear while McCall went 2-2 with his last fight, a loss against John Lineker in January 2015 at UFC 183. McCall’s two losses in his last four fights could’ve led to a third crack at DJ, but instead he was unable to prove he still belonged in the upper echelon of the 125 lb division.
McCall has made it clear that he believes he is the one who has what it takes to beat Johnson, but a string of bad luck hurt his chances of stepping back into competition. Following the loss to Lineker, McCall was expected to fight Dustin Ortiz in August 2015, but pulled out with an injury a month prior. Flash forward to July 2016, McCall was scheduled to fight Justin Scoggins, but the bout was pulled from UFC 201 two days prior due to Scoggins’ inability to make weight. The UFC would then book McCall against Ray Borg for UFC 203 in September, but Borg was forced out of the fight days before the event with an illness. UFC Fight Night took place two months later and McCall was pencilled in against Neil Seery, but “Uncle Creepy” was pulled out a day earlier citing an illness. The two were rebooked for UFC 208 this past February, but Seery pulled out of the fight with an injury weeks before the event. Jarred Brooks agreed to fill in for Seery on short notice, but McCall was pulled a day before fight night due to illness. Oh and by the way, McCall’s last fight against Lineker was originally set to take place at UFC Fight Night 56 in November 2014, but McCall was pulled hours before the event with a blood infection.
McCall has been vocal about retiring if he could not make it to fight night and if that happens to be the case, it would be a sad ending to the career of one of the original WEC pioneers turned memorable UFC flyweight. More importantly than getting punched in the face for a living is McCall’s health and wellbeing. McCall told MMA Junkie last month that his medical condition that has kept him away from the octagon remains unknown despite doctors calling his last illness that kept him from competing, food poisoning. McCall stated that he was told by doctors that he could’ve died before UFC 208. To make matters worse, the UFC previously told McCall that they would take care off his medical bills, but went back on their word. McCall benefitted from the necessary surgeries the UFC covered to recover from lingering injuries, but he is still unsure if he’ll ever be able to return to competition with his reoccurring medical problem.
At 32-years-old McCall could find himself in as yet another “what if” in mixed martial arts history. McCall stated that he is having difficulty being motivated to step back into the octagon given the nature of fighter pay or lack there of. Only time will tell what’s in store for “Uncle Creepy.”