This isn’t just another article about former UFC veteran and current Bellator lightweight Josh “The Punk” Thompson. It’s what the message and reality is for all active fighters. “Smooth” (23-5 MMA) finished his UFC contract in Seoul, Korea against a game Jorge Masvidal. Benson made comments about wanting to retire in the UFC, but made it well known that he’s on the hunt for “greener” pasture.
Now, the situation stands for each active UFC fighter. Do you fight in the number 1 organization in the world or do you fight for Bellator? No discredit to the other organizations like WSOF, M-1 global, Cage Warriors fighting, etc, but we know Scott Coker was excited about the possibility of a high profile former champ like “Smooth” who can generate fan interest. The “Punk” shares his thoughts with mmafighting.
“I’m not giving him advice,” Thomson said. “I’m giving all fighters advice. My advice to them is you have to treat this like you’re playing for the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers or you’re LeBron James going from Miami back to Cleveland. It’s a free market agency and one team wants you and one team wants to keep you. Go to the highest bidder. Whoever that is. Hence the free market.”
“If you’re not happy with where you’re at, then potentially go somewhere else,” Thomson said. “Look, would I like to have that fight back? Heck, yeah. I would. I feel like I won the last fight. But he’s gotta do what’s best for his family. Would it be great to have him over at Bellator? Heck yeah, it would. To think about the potential of the fights that could happen between me and Ben, Chandler, Rickels and Will Brooks. If you think about that group of lightweights, you could build a promotion around that.”
Thomson’s advice to all fighters is a sound one. He may not have come out bashing the UFC, but actions and messages speaks volumes. Having a strong #2 organization allows the UFC to stay fresh with their current business model and offers an option if negotiations aren’t met for fighters.
One of the questions on everyone’s mind is, will the UFC lose market share to Bellator? When Fedor Emelianecko fights, people will watch regardless who he fights. People will more than likely tune in.
The UFC is a media giant and will always get their share, having high profile fighters from the likes of Henderson to Bellator only increases the market. but in the end, the fans will ultimately decide.