Yesterday it was announced that UFC lightweight and former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson had signed a new contract with Bellator MMA.
In a report that surfaced earlier in the day it was stated that Thomson was released by the UFC, who decided not to match Bellator’s offer.
According to the fighter himself, via a Bellator press release, that wasn’t the case and in fact Thomson was the one who decided against resigning with the UFC, who he says tried to re-sign him after his last two fights.
“I’m over here reading this UFC reporter saying that they’ve declined to re-sign me when the truth of the matter is that they’ve been trying to re-sign me for my last two fights. I declined and instead chose to fight out my contract and test the free agency market with Bellator. At that point, Bellator made me an offer that the UFC was unable to match given their relationships with FOX and Reebok. It’s a done deal, I’m back working with Coker, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back to an organization that is trending upwards with fighter-friendly contracts. Any intelligent fighter is going to go where the money is, and for me the money was at Bellator.”
Is this the case of the UFC just not wanting it to seem like they lost another top ranked fighter due to issues like Reebok?
UFC president Dana White even came out after the announcement of Thomson’s signing and made it a point to say that the UFC released Thomson, and had no interest in keeping him. You are allowed to choose who you believe, the fighter who has no real reason to lie about wanting to leave the UFC, or the promotion who prides itself on being the most sought after promotion for athletes.
Do you think the new Reebok deal will force a lot of fighter both in the UFC and not yet in the UFC to take their talents elsewhere? Yes, Thomson has been on a losing skid, but he’s still a top level fighter who has decided, according to him, to leave the top MMA promotion in the world in order to receive a more lucrative and enticing deal.
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