For the longest time, the promotion most MMA fighters gunned to work for was always the UFC. Since they were established in the early 90s, they have the money and exposure attained from a history of successfully growing their business. However, there have been other MMA promotions that have become contenders throughout UFC’s lifespan. Pride FC is probably the biggest promotion to compete against UFC until Zuffa, LLC bought them. Now, their biggest contender is Bellator MMA. And though relatively small compared to UFC, it is gaining traction. Why would “Mr. Wonderful” himself, Phil Davis, sign with them if it weren’t true.
Now, another former UFC fighter has signed on with the growing MMA promotion. Josh Thomson has officially penned a multi-fight, multi-year contract with Bellator MMA.
According to MMA Weekly, Josh Thomson signed the aforementioned contract with Bellator MMA on August 11, 2015. For the promotion, signing “The Punk” is technically a huge step given the fact he’s a former Strikeforce World Lightweight Champion and Strikeforce U.S. Lightweight Champion prior to Zuffa, LLC buying the MMA promotion. Also, the fact that Thomson previously fought in Strikeforce means he’s worked with Scott Coker before. As a matter of fact, the Bellator MMA president provided the following statement in regards to the recent signing.
“I had the pleasure of working with Josh in Strikeforce and I look forward to continuing this relationship in Bellator MMA. Josh is a world-class mixed martial artist and we are very happy to be adding him to our roster of some of the best lightweights in the world. Bellator remains fully committed to building its roster by signing top free agents like Thomson, as well as grooming up-and-coming blue-chip stars. We have some amazing matchups in mind for ‘The Punk’ that we hope to be announcing in the weeks to come.”
This signing comes on the heels of recent news that UFC declined to sign a new contract with Josh Thomson, as reported by MMA Junkie. However, Thomson took exception to what UFC is reporting.
“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.”
For those who do not know, there has been plenty of controversy pertaining to UFC’s relationship with both FOX and Reebok, but mostly with the latter. Many within the MMA community, including those who work within UFC (who may be former employees by now), have argued that by making Reebok the exclusive sponsor for UFC, fighters’ pay would heavily be reduced. Apparently, that is the one of the major reasons for why Josh Thomson left UFC.
“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.”
Since Josh Thomson just recently signed, there is no news on who he’ll fight first in Bellator MMA or when he’ll even make his debut. But if there is one thing for sure, it seems that Thomson is happy with his business decision.
[Image via Josh Thomson’s Official Facebook Page]