Josh Thomson discusses the Ben Askren for Demetrious Johnson trade and how it could change the world of MMA

Josh Thomson

Josh Thomson is no stranger to testing the free agent market, having competed under the PRIDE, Strikeforce, UFC and Bellator banners during his illustrious career.

With that said, the former Strikeforce lightweight champion, Josh Thomson (22-9 MMA), has never experienced being traded by a promotion.

Despite the fact that trades between mixed martial arts promotions are relatively unheard of, Thomson recently predicted that organizational fighter swaps could become the way of the future.

“Mark my words, this is going to happen. You’re going to start seeing promotions buy and sell and trade their fighters like NFL agents.” – Josh Thomson

Earlier today Thomson’s premonition appeared to come true as it was reported that a historic trade between ONE Championship and the UFC, Ben Askren for Demetrious Johnon, was close to being finalized.

“The Punk” recently spoke with’s Chris Taylor where he detailed the significant impact today’s reported trade could have on the world of mixed martial arts.

“You know I had heard things before about talks of potential trades between promotions. So I knew this news, not today’s announcement specifically, but it was just a matter of time.”

Josh Thomson continued:

“I talked about it recently on my Podcast that what was going to happen was these companies, there is only a few promotions, so if you piss one off in negotiations they are basically going to trade you to the other promotion. Which really means you can never go back to the original promotion, or maybe won’t even want to.”

“The organizations will just start trading guys back and forth before their contract expires. When you’re on your last fight, don’t be surprised that if they (your current organization) can’t get a deal done with you, then they will just trade you away. When that happens, you’re not going to be able to go back to them. So that takes away from the fighters negotiation rights.”

Josh Thomson related former Bellator champion and UFC cast away Will Brooks to the equation.

“For instance, look at Will Brooks. He wanted more money but he wasn’t really pulling big numbers for Bellator so they dealt him elsewhere. He was a champion and they basically cut him and let him go to the UFC. So after today, they will just start trading them away now and get another fighter for him. If that’s available for them. If there is a deal out there to be made like today. It makes sense from both sides, because now another promotion can get something in return instead of just letting a fighter loose.”

“There will have to be the correct verbiage in fighter contracts. But I’m sure managers will work on getting that in moving forward. I remember there was a PRIDE fighter, I believe it was ‘Rampage’, who didn’t come over as part of the sale because he had it written into his contract with PRIDE that his contract was not transferrable. Maybe it was Fedor. I can’t recall for sure but I know someone had those stipulations as part of their contract. It is definitely going to be interesting because trades could involve one fighter coming over on a four-fight deal, while the other could have just one fight left on his current deal. If fighters don’t have a ‘no trade clause’ in their contract, they could be traded. The fighter could always try and take the promotion to court. But these are big companies with a lot of money.”

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