Last September, former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson left the UFC to sign with Bellator. Since his departure, Thomson has garnered back-to-back wins with his new employer, and has spoken out about his defection.
Thomson stated in the past that the main reason he left the UFC was due to the Reebok deal. Add two more reasons to the list.
“I didn’t leave just because of the Reebok deal,” Thomson said in an interview on BJPenn.com’s Rapid Fire. “I left because they (the UFC) made all main event fights five rounds, if I’m fighting in title fights or main events, those two extra rounds whether it’s in the UFC or Bellator are knocking years off of my life just to fight. It’s time for me to make money.”
The American Kickboxing Academy fighter feels if you are going to put your body through the grind of a training camp and then the actual fight, competitors should get more guaranteed money.
“You’re training for five rounds, five rounds of Jiu-Jitsu, five rounds of wrestling, five rounds of sparring, five rounds of stand-up," Thomson said. "You’re cutting your career down and you’re not getting paid any more than you were before. That to me was the biggest part of my decision (to not re-sign with the UFC),” he continued. “You’re basically cutting my career down, cutting my career life expectancy in half. Sure maybe you get a backroom bonus, but it’s not as much as people think it is. It’s not a flat fee, I know guaranteed money when I see it. When you talk to any professional athlete, what’s the most important part of the contract? Guaranteed money! When I talked to Bellator and saw their guaranteed money, I knew (the UFC) couldn’t touch it. When someone tells you they will take care of you, don’t believe them. Just believe what’s signed on the contract.”
Thomson was scheduled to fight at Bellator 154 against lightweight champion Michael Chandler, but "The Punk" had to pull out due to an undisclosed injury.