Josh Thomson responds to backlash over the disclosed fight purses for Bellator 290 fighters: “The is not anywhere near what they really make”

By Susan Cox - February 6, 2023

Josh Thomson is responding to the backlash over the disclosed fight purses for Bellator 290 fighters.

Josh Thomson

Bellator 290 took place this past weekend, Saturday, February 4th at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California where the main event featured heavyweights Ryan Bader (31-7 MMA) and Fedor Emelianenko (40-7 MMA) battle it out in the cage. The outcome was a first round TKO victory for ‘Darth’. The two had previously met back in 2019 at Bellator 214 where Bader was also the victor.

With the loss at Bellator 290, Fedor ‘The Last Emperor’ Emilianenko, at 46, laid down his gloves and retired from MMA.

Fedor Emelianenko

(via Bellator MMA)

Following the event, the fight purses were disclosed to the media by The California State Athletic Commission. An uproar ensued as it was revealed that Bader earned $150K for the victory and Emelianenko took home a mere $100K.

In an effort to mediate the criticism Bellator received from the revealed purses, former fighter turned commentator Josh Thomson took to ‘Instagram‘ with the following statement:

“People, this is not anywhere near what they make. I’ve done this several times in several promotions, the allows you to see what you make by disclosing a portion of their purse to the commission that later is public record. I was making close to 7 figures but only disclosed 10k-15k to commission. These numbers aren’t anywhere near what they made and the media knows this.”

So there you have it, according to Thomson (22-9 MMA) the disclosed purses were only a small portion of their actual renumeration for the fights. Citing his own experience, Thomson made it clear that these $ numbers which were published are not reality.

There has always been a disclaimer that figures published are not a fighter’s total earnings, as sponsorship incomes and other forms of income are not publicly disclosed.

Do you believe the purse for Bellator 290 should have been higher?

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Bellator Josh Thomson