Josh Thomson has signed with Bellator, as reported would be the case, but the accomplished fighter is denying that the UFC didn’t try to resign him to a new deal.
Thomson’s last contract came to an end last month, after he was decisioned by Tony Ferguson at UFC Fight Night 71. On Tuesday, MMA Fighting.com ran a story saying that sources had informed the outlet that the UFC “declined to offer” Thomson a new deal. The report also said that Thomson was on the verge of signing with Bellator.
Bellator sent out a press release not long after announcing that Thomson has in fact, signed with the Viacom owned promotion. In the announcement, however, Thomson was quoted saying this:
“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.”
It’s not hard to imagine that the UFC was trying to resign Thomson not long ago, as “The Punk’s” losses to Benson Henderson and Bobby Green were by split decision. In Thomson’s 2013, UFC return, he took out Nate Diaz.
Bellator President, Scott Coker, had this to say about Thomson’s 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,” said Coker. “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.”
So, there you have it. Bellator’s lightweight division might not be as deep as the UFC’s, but it does feature several big name fighters now, including Michael Chandler, Melvin Guillard and Will Brooks.